How to Be Present: A Lesson from Our Grandparents

How to Be Present: A Lesson from Our Grandparents

Nowadays, it seems as if children go from kindergarten to college in a heartbeat. The years filled with school duties, extracurricular activities, soccer and ballet practices and family time spent in cars are passing by faster than ever.

Modern parents have everything planned out for their children as if they were following a step-by-step guide from one of those parenting books on their nightstands. Children have their guardians by their sides every step of their growing up. The world is given to them by their parents as their self-reliance slowly fades.

Parenting wasn’t always this rushed, assisted and planned out. In fact, not so long ago, our grandparents were unknowingly part of a practice that is now known as slow-parenting. No rushing from one place to another, no trying to squeeze everything in a single day and no trying to simplify the world for children. Instead, they would just take things as they come, learn along the way and simply be present.

So, what can we learn from this not-so-distant era of slow-parenting?

The Time Before Social Media

Somehow, it seems that people are growing apart much faster nowadays when they have everything they need to stay in touch. We can text, video chat and exchange photos to stay up to date with our families and friends. Yet we still have no time to meet.

Our grandparents, on the other hand, didn’t have these technological amenities, but they’ve managed to maintain close relationships with their loved ones.

Instead of a short text message, they would make a long phone call and actually enjoy it. Instead of filming their children’s school recitals to post them on their social networks, they would soak in every moment of them.

Although social media has enabled us to stay in touch with our families, relatives, and loved ones, we rarely make time to meet up, which creates a gap between us.


All Those Little Things

Nowadays, parents are so burdened by their everyday duties and plans that they miss the opportunities to enjoy those little moments of pure happiness.

Our grandparents’ lifestyles had a much slower, relaxed pace. They had time to watch their carefree children play in the backyard or to enjoy quiet evenings with their partner. They didn’t bring work home, they didn’t sign up their children for dozens of activities and didn’t worry about the future so much. Instead, they would focus on the present moment and appreciate the things they had.

We should stop and immerse ourselves in the present. Instead of worrying about our to-do lists and duties, we should take a look around us and express our gratitude for the blessings we have.

It’s Never Too Late

Modern parents are afraid of change and letting go. New beginnings seem terrifying and almost impossible, so they stick to the known and familiar.

Our grandparents, on the other hand, had to start over, rebuild their lives and start from scratch. Even now, they choose to move to independent retirement living communities, find new partners and make new friends.

For us, moving to a foreign country, or even to another city, seems scary and challenging. So, we teach our children to stick to what they know because we’re the ones who are afraid of new beginnings.


The Only Failure is Not Trying

Nowadays, it seems that parents and people, in general, are more bothered by the unpredictability and uncertainty of the future. We want to make our children safe and protect them from the harshness of the world so much that our children and we become reluctant to take risks.

We rarely let our children learn from their mistakes, and we would rather tell them how to do something than let them discover on their own even if that means failing.

However, our grandparents knew that the only failure is not trying at all. Therefore, we should encourage our children to take risks in life without fear of failure.

You Create Your Own Happiness

There’s a reason why modern employers appreciate the traditional work ethic of our grandparents. They were dedicated, hard-working and persistent, paving their own way towards success. They tried hard to achieve their goals and attain happiness. However, they never lost sight of what truly mattered – their families, the simple pleasures and fleeting moments of happiness.

Nowadays, children expect for everything to work out on its own. They are taught how they should behave and presented with certain expectations. Thus, they follow certain patterns believing that all they need to do is follow the instructions and happiness can be theirs.

Our children and we should learn to see the happiness that is already present in our lives. If we fail to do so, it will pass by unnoticed, and we will continue to strive for some distant goals that are supposed to make us feel complete.

Our grandparents didn’t know how to be parents. Instead, they learned along the way, trying to appreciate every moment. We need to stop relying on those parental guides and embrace the happiness that slow-parenting brings.

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