As parents, we all want the best for our children. However, have we truly taken the time to consider what the idea of best really means?
The world tells us that the best means giving our children a large home with a white picket fence. The world tells us that the best means sending our children to the best schools possible and offering them unlimited extracurricular activities. The world tells us that the best means giving our children a life of travel so that they can see and explore the world.
All of those things have good intentions behind them. However, let’s ask this question. What would be the best thing that we could give our children that would not only outweigh anything found in this material world but would guarantee that they live a free and happy life?
The answer is – the gift of owning their attention.
After all, what good is “having it all” if we live moment to moment with a sense of fear and anxiety that it may all be taken away from us one day? What good is “having it all” if we are not able to be in command of ourselves in any unwanted moment or event?
It’s extraordinary really, that so little focus in this world is placed on the importance of owning one’s own attention.
I had an experience in a preschool classroom environment. I was caring for a 4-year old girl. I created an exercise called “first things first”, meaning, when this child walked into the classroom, she was first to attend to her responsibilities before starting to play with friends.
This one particular day, this child hung up her coat, and on her way to hang up her backpack, she started walking over to a table to address her friend. I gently called out to her “first things first”. She finished taking care of her responsibilities and then headed over to chat with her friend.
The teacher was standing behind me and made this comment “Oh she’s fine. She has the attention of an average 4-year old”. What does that statement even mean? Five years from now as the attention levels of our children worsen, that then will become the new average, a descending average.
As parents, let’s look at our own present level of attention.
How many times have we walked into a room not knowing why we walked into it? Are we able fully attend to the person that is speaking to us, whether it be our child or our spouse or are we busy thinking of other things as they are speaking? Do we ask our child to do something such as brush their teeth and use our attention to make sure they follow through with that request – not in a half hour, but at the moment of the request or do we get distracted after asking?
The reason that it is vital for us to own our own attention is that if we don’t, something else will. That something else is the lower level of consciousness that we are here on this planet to transcend. We were given two things in this Life in order to do that – time and our attention.
The lower level of consciousness cannot live in the present moment. We cannot be in the present moment without owning our attention. When we don’t own our own attention, it automatically defaults to the lower level of consciousness that uses our energy for its purpose – for the continuation and perpetuation of itself. That level is also called the past or the old consciousness.
For millennia, we have given ourselves answers to what ails us and the world, when all along we were intended to receive answers from a level of consciousness above us. We were never intended to look to the outer world for guidance. True inner guidance is available within each and every one of us.
The caveat is that in order to receive that guidance, we have to own our attention and remain present in order to receive it. That is why cultivating attention as early as possible in your child’s life is the best thing you can give them.
In owning their attention, they will learn to be able to see in unwanted moments, the part of them that wants to continue to point the finger outward in blaming, judging, and hating others. They will learn to be able to see the part of them (that lower consciousness) that wants to keep them from doing things they truly wish to do in this life.
They will essentially learn that the only thing stopping them from being a free and happy person is a lower level of consciousness that speaks to them negatively in every moment. That is the consciousness we are here to transcend. That is the very purpose we are here in this life to fulfill. That is the secret to becoming unstoppable.
Give that to your child and you give them true Life.
Image courtesy of: Gustavo Fring on Pexels