Breakfast for the SOUL
Updated: Apr 21, 2020
A morning several years ago when my then 11 year old served me some serious wisdom for breakfast.
(Photo courtesy of Heather Cotton)
Before I start this story, I should explain the living arrangement with my children. I am separated from their dad. Since he WAS my husband, I have merged the two words and call him my WASband (much better than the word Ex). We get along really well, live in close proximity and have shared custody of our two boys. They spend one week with him, one week with me, alternating back and forth. Ben is a teacher at a school that starts before our children’s school. The weeks he has the children, I go to his house every morning at 7:30 am to take care of the boys, make sure they have breakfast, are clothed, teeth brushed and out the door by 8:00 am. I then drive them to school.
As a parent or care giver, you know how it can be in the morning. It seems like children just don’t have the same sense of time as adults. For my son Tyler, reading anything is way more fascinating than eating breakfast, so he needs to be constantly reminded to eat. Ryan loves talking and playing in the morning, getting dressed is pretty far down on his list of priorities. Actually, I think they have it right. They stay in the moment and are much happier than the adults trying to get them somewhere for a certain time. But we do live in a world where we need to get that child to school for a certain time and getting them there can be challenging.
So this morning, they were moving at a glacier pace. Meanwhile, I had a million things on my mind, including what needed to get done today. Then Ben reminded me that it was a PD day tomorrow which meant the kids would be spending all day with me. This added to my stress, knowing that I had some writing to get done, would have to do groceries and clean the house today. With all of those rambling thoughts in my mind, I realized that the kids were just not getting ready for school. I was getting frustrated and thinking COME ON!! I reminded them several times to hurry up, but that was not providing any motivation at all. After I got a little more stern than usual and got them to do everything they needed to do, I said something like, “What do you think I am here to do in the mornings?” …thinking they know I am there to get them out the door and to school on time...
Tyler, my 11-year old, said,
“Uhm, you’re here to love us?”
That changed everything. At that moment the stress and the let’s go go go mentality just melted away. He was right. That was my main job and I had forgotten. I hugged them both and appreciated them for who they are, felt very grateful, and then, magically, they quickly got into their snow suits and we were out the door and on our way to school.
What my son said stayed with me for a long time . As parents, we have so many things on our to-do list, so much so that we actually forget why we are doing the things on that list in the first place. If I back away from my parent to-do list and think of who I want to BE as a parent and what legacy I want to leave behind, the to-do list loses its main focus. I think the bottom line is that I am here to care for my children and guide them but most importantly, I am here to be loving. I need to be what I want them to be and lead by example, showing love, kindness, compassion, and appreciation. They won’t remember me as someone who got stuff done in a timely and efficient manner. They will remember the essence of who I was and how they felt. Being in a state of love and appreciation won’t make the dishes go away, or fold the laundry nor will it magically make dinner appear on the table. However, if I infuse love into all of those chores and think of the two little people I am doing it for, I will get all those things done and feel better about it.
I think children are here to teach us lessons, if we could just listen. They are tapped into the present moment, pure happiness and love. If you watch a child in his natural state, doing his own thing at his on pace, it is a thing of beauty. Today, Tyler taught me one of the greatest lessons. We are humanbeings not human doings. When we are being loving, we feel more peaceful and that will spill over into all of our doings. Now that is what I call breakfast for the soul.