PARADISE & PRESENCE
Here Comes The Sun
JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group
January 27, 2022
December 21st, 2021, was the Winter Solstice – or the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s the shortest day of the year because the Earth reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun; therefore, we get the least amount of sun exposure. The best part about the Winter Solstice is knowing the sun will shine longer each day thereafter. Spring grows nearer.
I was taking a yoga class in early December, and the instructor shared that on each Winter Solstice, she makes a list of five things she’d like to manifest in the coming year. I loved the idea. I sat up and programed a reminder into my Google calendar for Dec 21st. I wanted in on this practice. Here’s one of my manifestations:
#5. I will be more present with my children.
Before I became a mother, I worked at a daycare center. At the age of 16, I would frequently be chosen to care for the problem children. Why? Because I knew how to get them to listen. Most children did not learn how to behave by being punished or singled out. Most children learned to behave when they got individual attention and felt seen.
I would sit down with the girl who came in with messy hair and fix it. We would chat. We would laugh. And we would connect. How about the little boy who regularly aggressed toward his peers? When he walked in, I warmly said hello and let him pick out an activity for us to do. He liked to have books read to him. Other kids would ask if they could listen, and he usually agreed. He loved being able to make choices. And he loved having a say.
As a mother now, I realize exactly what I was doing then. I was being present with those kids. I was giving them a place to be seen and heard. I was validating their existence. I was connecting with them. And I wanted to make sure I gave that same attention to my children. When I think of being a mother, I can easily express my experience. I unconditionally love my kids. I will protect them to the best of my ability. But it’s not often that I think of their experience. How do they feel about me?
As Daniel J. Siegel, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and New York Times Best-Selling author says in The Whole Brain Child, “You don’t have to try too hard to have fun with your preschooler. Just being with you is paradise for him.”
Our children love us unconditionally. They idolize us. They learn from us. And they mirror us.
And as the days of this year get longer, I intend to manifest their paradise with my presence.