Last Monday we have been as every Monday at the Parent and Child group that normally gathers at the Waldorf School of South West London. The group is called Bluebells and it is the most calming environment I have been with my little one since we started to go to these types of groups. And I can say with some degree of certainty, we have been around playgroups, parent and child group, baby’s cafes and the sort for quite a while now and so far, Bluebells is the only one where my son and I feel at ease.
And because we both feel at ease he can do his thing in a complete safe environment whilst I can do my thing – normally parents would do some craft, related to the season we are in – whilst chatting and listening to what any other mum (or dad) has to say or comment. Not to mention the amazing Jo, who is inspiring to say the least and who is always with the right answer or the most suited observation.
And today was one of those days where Jo told something ever so true that it was like one of those things that are very obvious in front of your nose and you cannot see it – do you know what I mean?
What happened was that my little dear son was – as usual I dare say – throwing things away left right and centre without any care of what was to the left to the right or to the centre; not to mention when he got to throw things aiming at the “nearest target” call it another child, a wall or the table. You name it, it was one of those days where no one nor anything was safe.
I was not at ease anymore fearing where the next woodblock would end, and nothing seem to distract my son from this activity; today what was meant to be a safe, calm, relaxed environment was a hazardous one at the hands of my son.
It is worth to mention that this throwing things activity started quite awhile ago but these last two weeks was in full force. I remember commenting it to Jo and asking for her best opinion and she suggested to do something productive i.e. throw it inside a basket, a box, like a game to aim at something. I did try it without any results. If anything it exacerbated his little passion. And today he was very passionate about it.
No need to mention that at my son’s age (2 years and a half) he does not quite yet understand the concept of hurting someone or damage something. And it will be a while until he starts to grasp this notion. But in my head the fear of him doing any harm to another child was growing and to be honest I could not picture any likely scenario of how things could turn. At the end of the day anything material that gets broken can be fixed or substituted; a child with an injury – and the anger of the parent – cannot be fixed with an infinite amount of apologies or arnica.
When the morning session finished and we were getting ready to go back home, I did ask Jo if she could give me an idea of what to do when my son got into those frenzied outbursts of throwing everything around, and I was concerned; I did tell her I was not ready to face an upset parent and child in the near future.
The answer was quite simple. She said to me, “do you know what one of the principles with Zen is?” “A little” I replied. “Well, Zen says to live in the present and to resolve the present”. “Children are like little Zen masters, they live in the present, without a care in the world about tomorrow, or about what happened yesterday”.
I could only smile and look at my little “Zen master” who was about to throw another wood block towards the door. “Think about it” said Jo “the best resolution is for the now, for the present. No point on trying to solve something that may or may not happen tomorrow or in five years time”. We said our goodbyes and made our way home.
And whilst I write this I can’t stop thinking on this little conversation we had. The more I think about it the more I agree. To resolve the situation in the present surely will be settling some ground for a similar situation in the future…and then I have to stop myself in my tracks because again I’m thinking in the future instead of the “today”.
It is challenging to think or even toy with the idea of going into this line of thought. Although on reflection I always act and live in the present, it is *very* true that I pay too much attention on what to resolve now so it won’t be a problem in the future – and sometimes the future could be in two days time – instead on focusing the present.
True, it is necessary to set some foundations but as well it is necessary to live the moment and it is something I need to learn. I suppose, it is time to follow the little Zen Master.