Children are very good at being in the moment. Adults, usually, are not.
Not because we don’t want to be, but because we don’t really know how to anymore.
From a young age we’re continually asked to move on from moments we’d rather stay present in because there’s always something else to do. To work towards. To tick off. The next subject, project, worksheet, group activity, lesson, bell, lunch break, assembly, class, test, homework assignment...all week, every week.
The model built for our children is based entirely on the concept of a start, a finish, and continual progress in between. Children rarely get the chance to slow down. They cannot simply choose to stop. Even a gap year after more than a decade spent in classrooms is scrutinised. If an 18 year old takes a break, won’t they fall behind their peers? Stay in the race. Keep up.
But races have more losers than winners. That’s just the way they work. And while we’re off chasing abstract things like ‘progress’ and ‘success’, we run past the people, places, and moments in our lives that would love to have us pause just a little bit longer.
By the end of it, the beautiful, natural art of being present is all but lost. In its place: a continual, nagging belief that we need to keep busily working towards a distant finish line.
Some of our children are lining up to start the race right now. Others have been running it for years.
What a life-changing thing it would be to tell them it doesn’t actually exist.
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