Sand CastleThe Kid, as with most two-year olds, is pretty impatient when something either has lost his interest or was insufficiently stimulating to begin with. For instance, when he’s done eating, he’s “all done.” When one task is completed, it’s time to move on to the next one. None of these characteristics would lead you to describe my toddler or anyone else’s as Zen.

Parents of young children usually aren’t thought of as being very Zen either. We rush to get the kids off to school, then go to work ourselves. When we are home with them, we are either enforcing good behavior, helping with homework and finally making sure our kids brush their teeth before they go to bed. If that leaves you some quality time with your spouse or a chance to pursue a hobby, then you are one of the lucky ones. Or so the modern view of family life goes.

This harried life that we all seem to lead doesn’t leave a lot of room for contemplation and the search for enlightenment, which is what we normally think of as Zen. While I don’t see the pace of modern life changing anytime soon, I think there is another way to look at things, assuming you aren’t going to pick up the family and move to that cabin in the woods that you’ve had your eye on.

Sure, toddlers are impatient and two-year olds like mine rarely see the big picture, as best I can tell. I think there is another side of them that is completely Zen. Whenever The Kid is working on a puzzle with me or pouring water between cups, he is totally in the moment. While it’s not a meditative state in the traditional sense, time and everything else certainly seems to lose all meaning. Nothing else really matters.

As adults I think it rare when we don’t have some worry in the back of our mind. We always know what we need to do next or what we have put off and really need to get done. But I find I’m at my most at peace when I can share one of those highly focused moments with The Kid. Whether its just for a few minutes or even just a few seconds of complete concentration, it can still feel like an eternity.

Traditionally, children have been thought of as our legacy or a form of immortality, as they will hopefully be around after we are gone. But what if we can experience a bit of the eternal in this life by sharing a perfect moment with our kids?

 

 

 

 

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