Back to School - The Start of a NEW YEAR!
This summer while driving the kids to their endless playdates, camps, and other activities, I started some new podcasts, including one called The Happiness Lab. Many of the episodes focus on how we as humans obtain happiness while living out busy lives. Recently, I went back to the beginning of the series which started in January. Just like with the New Year many of us, both parent and teacher, will focus on the upcoming school semester instead of the last few days of summer break, during which we should enjoy the extra time with our kids at home. Once school starts, we need to find a balance between focusing on upcoming projects that need to be done or meetings to attend, instead of participating in the joys that our children bring home each day. For the pre-school age, we should enjoy them at the stage they are right now, as well as thinking about the next milestone they will achieve, such as sitting, crawling, etc.
Scientists call this “always looking for the next big thing” the Arrival Fallacy. So, while we almost always start a new year or new chapter of our lives looking forward to that next big thing, I encourage you to be content with the way the new school year is going even when you forget to buy the correct item for the lunchbox, wash the favorite uniform or fill the car with gas the night before to avoid being late (again!). But if we are content with life in the present these bumps will be short interruptions before going back to living a happier life.
I encourage you to take a moment and think about how your kids learn best from you. It’s not from the endless times you tell them to do something, it’s from that one time you did something, or even better from the multiple times you did something with them, showing them consistency. If we as adults always look to the next big thing, we are not necessarily taking a moment to reflect on what we already have. Since children learn by observing, use gratitude to place yourself in the moment to recognize that what you have is all that you need. That will help you teach your children to be grateful in the moment, helping them learn that although happiness can be fleeting, gratitude is long lasting.
So, try to focus on the moment, by using your five senses to look at all the good things around you. Take a few moments to model this or even have your little ones join in, and find those things that help you to be content in the moment, therefore allowing you to return to your happy state-of-being faster and remain in it longer.