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I'm Susan Wright

Podcaster, Author, Digital Marketer, Educator, Dreamer, Mother and #1 Most Curious Human (Really). I’m glad you’re here. Now let’s get to work.

How Simple Living Nurtures Children’s Well-Being

THE CHANGING OF THE TIDE AND THE RE-EMERGENCE OF OLD WISDOM

From a world racing to get more hours out of the day and fitting everything possible into our day using the latest apps, time management tools, and efficiency hacks to fill our calendars, the global pandemic brought us face-to-face with the polar opposite of everything we knew. We stood in disbelief, fearing the worst, and desperately reaching for the Calm App as our saving grace in a new world that left many of us paralyzed with fear. 

As a global community, we were forced to put the brakes on our busy lives, drop the mountainous to-do lists, and in some cases, trust others to take care of us and our loved ones. Specifically, we relied on others to do the things we would normally do for ourselves. For some of us, we had to rely on others to look in on and take care of our families when we couldn’t be at home ourselves. No matter how much we wanted things to be what they once were, so much in our lives changed in what felt like a New York minute. 

CONSIDERING A NEW REALITY

All of a sudden we had more time on our hands, often more time with which we knew what to do. There was far less daily chaos to cloud our minds; less noise to block out, and less movement from which to seek stillness. 

As it turned out, we were met with fewer diversions to distract us from the everyday lives we shared with family and friends. We wondered amidst our confused state of sadness, anxiety, and worry about the permanence of these changes as we watched the pandemic take its toll on our world. 

We kept ourselves as safe as we could, nestled away inside our own homes, longing to be living the freedom we once knew pre-pandemic. As we slowly settled and began to consider our new reality, one that many of us thought would be short-lived, some new thoughts began to emerge. We questioned whether the changes we were forced to accept might somehow be a kind of backward blessing ~ perhaps some sort of wake-up call. 

We think about this question often as we contemplate the complex lives we live focused on our schedules, checking things off of our to-do lists, and juggling the everyday bustle of our day. Whether each of us spends time with children at home, in a childcare setting, or in a school environment, the answer is telling. Essentially, this question helps us hold space for reflection and contemplation of our everyday lives.

It’s like putting a finger on our own pulse. We wonder whether or not we spend enough time exploring the art of slow living (monitoring our own heart rate), noticing the play our children enjoy (nourishing the joy in our hearts), engaging in play experiences of our own (keeping our hearts healthy), and giving ourselves the grace to slow down to breathe fresh inspiration into our spirit (pacing ourselves in life).

As we dig a little deeper, we invite you to join us as we ask ourselves about the last time we paused long enough to consider how our days are spent ~and how we’re nourishing our hearts ~ both metaphorically and literally.

THE COMPLEXITIES

With every passing month, and each of these changes becoming more deeply embedded into our daily lives, we became witness to a new and frightening state of reality that threatened the security of the world. From healthcare to travel to economic stability, the world and the lives we once knew were at a standstill and falling quickly into an abyss that felt hopeless.  

Among all of the complexities of this unrest and worry, we quietly pondered new possibilities and perspectives within our daily lives and wondered quietly about our human evolution. As time passed and days continued to be filled with gloom and despondency, human beings looked for a saving grace; anything we could find from messages of peace displayed on our walkways to songs sung together from our balconies. We found ways to connect with one another. It was in this place that our world, full of fear, hopelessness, and despair, would come face-to-face with the emergence and rediscovery of old wisdom once forgotten; the wisdom of slow living and human connection. 

In this challenging time, through the sadness, the fears, and the anxieties that filled our hearts and minds, the world changed. Yet despite the depths of despair that filled the lives of so many people around the globe, the world received a gift ~ the gift of time, togetherness, and appreciation for our human existence. We embraced many moments to step back, breathe, and see with more clarity that which truly mattered. We saw people shine, we witnessed the best in humanity. The pure, kind-heartedness of strangers emerged. 

OBSERVATIONS AND NEW REALITIES

For many of us, we watched our children make signs to hang in our windows to thank and empower those who never stopped serving. We witnessed children’s growing understanding and empathy for people around the world. We were given the blessing of time to spend with our children and our families; time that many of us hadn’t gifted ourselves in far too long.

Despite feeling the stress and pressures of an extremely sad and difficult time in the history of the world, we found small moments to notice how we might reconsider our lives. We started to observe things we hadn’t noticed in quite some time such as the simple moments of play with our children, dinners shared without the hustle and bustle of our schedules infringing on our time, and a sense of togetherness that seemed to have eluded us most days prior to the pandemic. 

As we hoped and prayed for the return to health for so many suffering people and the safety of all humans around the world, we came to know a time of thoughtfulness; a time we could ponder our humanity. As we did, we revisited missing and forgotten joys; the joy of family, the rediscovery of old hobbies, the discovery of new interests, and an awareness of the gifts we could share and impart to others.

For many of the world’s people, we had rediscovered and reconnected to the simple life; to the true meaning of our human existence and the purpose of our being.

Times had changed ~ and in some cases, for the better. This was a time for reflection and nurturing relationships with our families and ourselves. Reconnecting to what truly mattered, we had time to nurture the seven pillars of ourselves and that of our children. We took up improving our health; our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being which in turn empowered us to be better people; better parents and educators for our children. By embracing these pathways to well-being, we could show the way to our children. We could be in a better position to answer their questions as we watched them grow toward an understanding of our new reality.

What about our heart-driven intentions for living, our wishes around how we spend our time, and the unstructured pathways of play and joy that call our name each and every day? What we’re hearing from many of our friends and colleagues is that more times than not our plans, wishes, and dreams for our children, ourselves, and our families get swept under the carpet for yet another day?

Is it all for nothing~ a hope we’ll forever hold in our soul but never attain in our lives and fail at sharing with our children? Are these wishful moments of quality time and connection with our children, our inner voice, our innate way of being, and our authentic sense of self never to be?

We wonder whether there is a pathway back to an intentional way of life that might provide us with the simple joie de vivre we long for; a way of living that will empower us to share playful moments, meaningful relationships, and purposeful intentions in our day alongside our children.

NEW UNDERSTANDINGS AND APPRECIATIONS

Coming through to what the world hopes is the other side of this long journey, we are seeing that our children can better learn how to nurture relationships with themselves and others, and develop their skills of empathy, love, compassion, and connection. We have learned to empower our children even further than before. We welcome them to emerge from this pandemic with the understanding and a deep appreciation of the simple life in which many of us were unexpectedly reintroduced due to the lockdowns. 

As we look forward, we’re seeing a pattern of change that has surfaced among many parents and educators; a pattern that has emerged as a result of the journey we have taken. It seems many of us are choosing something new; something different; something full of hope. Many of us are making choices to empower children and ourselves in ways that help us avoid going back to the frenetic pace of life that existed before the pandemic. We’ve noticed a trend. Things have changed, possibly forever and for the better. 

THE LOST ART OF SIMPLE LIVING AND WHY WE SHOULD STRIVE FOR IT

At its most basic level, a simple life means just that. Simple, straightforward, and clear. There’s no committing to a hundred different items that need to be checked off a never-ending list, no feeling of chaos, nor a life spiraling out of control. Ever-fading is the struggle to fit in time with our children, and the feeling as though we might not have enough time, energy, and love to give because we’re pulled so thin by all the demands of our days. 

We’re noticing the change. We see a strong desire in ourselves as parents and educators to find a way to maintain simplicity. We can easily say, it all starts with slowing things down, decluttering our schedule, cutting away the excess distractions, and freeing ourselves of unnecessary commitments and burdens. While we may never reach perfection in any of this, we can certainly become more cognizant of our choices and strive to commit to a more simple existence in our day-to-day lives.

With the power granted to us by living a simple life, we’re free to create the time we want to share with children. We carve out the boundaries of our day. We become more aligned with the energy necessary to nurture relationships with our children, invite experiences with them, and embrace encounters that help our children grow.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR OUR CHILDREN?

By living a simple life, it means our energy and attention are less likely to get pulled in so many different directions. It means we no longer feel as though our lives are constantly in a state of chaos. Our minds are less burdened with external distractions, empowering us to be more present with our little ones. With simple living at the forefront, we become more intentional. We pay careful attention to the moments we share with our children, and we connect more wholeheartedly to who our children need us to be.

We know of the astuteness of children. They are in tune with what is happening around them. They are careful observers of the world and those with whom they share their day. They take in everything, and very little passes them by. They are empathetic by nature and pick up on the smallest of things. They know when we are present and when we are fully immersed with them. They feel when we are enjoying our moments together. Equally so, they recognize when we are not present in our moments with them. They have a sixth sense for such things and know when we are disengaged in our shared play and explorations.

NEW POSSIBILITIES EMERGE

By embracing simple living, we lessen the likelihood of children experiencing disconnection with us as parents and educators and increase the opportunities for joyful experiences and meaningful connections to emerge in our day-to-day lives together. 

It’s amazing that something that can benefit our children and ourselves so much was less commonplace before the global pandemic. By making the decision to slow down, drop unnecessary distractions, and choose to live a more simplified life, we can set an example, and make a positive impact on our children’s lives in ways that fill them with a sense of meaning and connection. 

By embracing children’s play, observing and engaging with them in everyday moments, and sharing in thoughtful conversation with them, we are better able to listen to understand who they are, come to know what they think, and observe how they engage with others and the world around them. In this way, we make a difference in our children’s lives, and in turn, there is a mutual benefit for generations to come as the gifts of relationship, time, attention, and love that we share with them may then be passed onto their children and generations to follow.

IT’S YOUR TURN

As always, I welcome you to share something that you do in your own life to encourage simple living and well-being with your children. In what ways do you see the benefits of simple living emerging through children as you nurture their well-being? How does simple living help you become more present with your children? In what ways are you able to live more simply with your children? Your ideas are important and they bring new ideas and perspectives to our community. Please share in the comment section below. The world needs your voice. Now is your chance to share it!

Susan

Founder ~ Nurtured Inspirations nurturedinspirations.com

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