Giving Your Kids the Gift of Peace

Quietude: The state of being quiet; tranquility

When I selected yesterday’s “Wordless Wednesday” photo, I scrounged through my files looking for a photo that smacked of spring. (Because I’m getting a little tired of the chill in the air, aren’t you? And sheesh, I can’t even really complain — you poor East Coast and Midwest people look like you’ve been bombarded with snow and ice for months now. So … a little spring. … deep sigh … Sounded like a nice thing. …)

When I looked at last year’s spring pics, though, I ran across the ones of Nathan at the skatepark. So I put them up, but then had to name the photos … and I stalled. Because what was I trying to say with the photos? That I’m craving spring? (That kind of worked becaused we do tend to go there in the spring.) But there was something more I liked about the pictures.

Then I realized what it was. …

I liked the “quietude” of them.

What doesn’t come across in the photo at all is how quiet it was that day. Just the birds chirping, and the sound of his wheels rolling. …

Usually there are at least 7 or 8 other kids at that skatepark (sometimes up to 20), and it gets pretty boisterous, but that day it was so strangely empty. Yet Nate didn’t care. He looked around for a second, then threw his board down and skated the whole afternoon alone. And I loved that, too — that this boy who is normally very talkative and very bouncy and super social could have an afternoon completely … alone. And still. He wasn’t literally still, of course, but there was sort of a stillness about him — of his heart, maybe, or his mind. It was just him and his board and those bowls. …

And I realized this is a huge gift we can give our children.

I always tell my younger friends with still-young kids not to feel like a cruise director. You don’t have to orchestrate every second of your children’s day. Let them be alone for stretches — coming up with their own games, their own things to do. Let them play by themselves and use their imagination. They can play with popsicle sticks for an afternoon, or even pillows. They can do a lot on a long stretch of grass with a skateboard and a shovel and a pail. … Just let them be still, and alone with their thoughts. …

It’s a great gift, really.

It’s that gift of quietude. It’s a peacefulness your children will later be able to find within themselves, and they’ll definitely need it as they get older.

Because we all need a little quietude sometimes, don’t we?

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5 thoughts on “Giving Your Kids the Gift of Peace

  1. Beautiful Laurie!
    I know we’ve talked about this a lot and you’re right, the picture sums it up.
    Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Hi, Maria! Thanks! Yes, it sounds like you Midwesterners have had a very long and cold one … I wish you spring blooms soon! 🙂

  3. My kids could have fun with a box…. a spoon…. a stick. lol I love that about them, and I encourage it. I also make them go off on their own, to be alone. I think it’s very healthy. Most people have a fear of being alone and I believe that learning to be content by yourself, at a young age, helps combat that for later in life.

  4. Absolutely, Crystal! I have a friend who talks about this a lot — she says that her dad was always trying to fill her days/life with fun, fun, fun … which she LOVED, of course! But she says that now she actually has a hard time being alone, or especially being alone with her thoughts. Like she doesn’t know what to “do” with them. (I say, don’t “do” anything! Just “be.”) But sure enough, today she’s one of those people who is always racing around and not content unless she’s stressed out and running around all the time. Peace and quietude truly is a gift to give children.

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