With the first month of school more or less under our belts, and having had a few angry flare ups and a few less-than-successful attempts at instilling some homework discipline, I found myself going back to an article by Karen Miller that appeared in the March 2009 issue of Shambhala Sun.
From that article, here are practical guidelines for mindful parents:
Practice in plain sight. Place your zafu meditation cushion in a conspicuous place in your home, such as on your bedroom floor. As you pass by, let it invite you to practice meditation daily. Even five minutes in the morning or night can turn your life around.
Live by routine. Take the needless guesswork out of meals and bedtimes. Let everyone relax into the predictable flow of a healthy and secure life.
Turn off the engines. Discipline TV and computer usage and reduce artificial distractions, escapism, and stimulation. This begins with you.
Elevate the small. And overlook the large. Want to change the world? Forget the philosophical lessons. Instruct your child in how to brush his or her teeth, and then do it, together, twice a day.
Give more attention. And less of everything else. Devote one hour a day to giving undistracted attention to your children. Not in activities driven by your agenda, but according to their terms. Undivided attention is the most concrete expression of love you can give.
Take a break. Before you break in two. Designate a chair in your home as a “quiet chair,” where you can retreat to decelerate conflicts. Or walk around the block and see how quickly your own two feet can stamp out the fire on your head.
Be the first to apologize. Practice the miracle of atonement and instantly restore household harmony. By your doing it, your children will learn how.
Be the last to know. Refrain from making judgments and forgone conclusions about your children. Watch their lives unfold, and be surprised. The show is marvelous, and yours is the best seat in the house.