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Helping our Children Understand the Power of Presence

By Guest Blogger: Nicole Pomeroy

In The Art of Learning, Josh Waitzkin discusses the Power of Presence and how it applies to your child’s approach to their studies and other activities. Josh is asking us, as parents, to consider what things our children give their full attention to and the ways we can encourage less distraction and more awareness of presence. So I really started thinking about how I could translate this way of living to my kids. How can I teach them this important skill so this is all they grow up knowing? What I realized is that they already know it. They were born knowing it. We all were. At some point along the way, life just beats it out of us and we forget how to not let the pain and drama of yesterday and fear and uncertainty of tomorrow take us over.

So when I really thought about it, I came to see that more often than not, it was me that was pulling them out of their moments of presence. They aren’t thinking about what’s coming next or what needs to be done — only I am. While the kids are doing something, I always seem to be preparing them for what was coming next. I try to create excitement by talking about future events. I rehash things that have already happened. I seem to constantly send this message that says, stop focusing on what you’re doing now to think about the thing you’re going to do next. On one hand, they are kids and they need guidance and preparation and yes, a schedule to live by. They need notice so that transitions throughout the day happen smoothly. But instead of allowing them to fully enjoy the tasks currently at hand, I’m asking them to focus on something that has yet to happen. Mostly this is my own neurotic, list-making, busy bee self creating chaos where none exists. As with everything else, it’s not about what I tell my children, but what I show them. It stands to reason that if I am living in the present moment, then they will too.

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