I love feeling the gentle wind on my face.
Lying out in an open field, the wild blue sky above me and the soft grass under me, it is here, like this, in this place, that I most feel God.
Whenever I’m feeling stressed, my husband tells me to go lie in a field. It’s my happy place, my quiet place.
I am going to teach my children how to lie in a field and just enjoy the sunshine. I want them to know how to sit and think and not need to be entertained or distracted. I want them to know the freedom of being bored. I want them to know that most of our insights come in the quiet, in the stillness, in the not-doing.
But it’s a fight to teach them these things because distraction and entertainment are so easy, for myself and for my kids. Jack Lelanne once said, “You’ve got to work at living.” I agree. To really live, we must work at it, otherwise the waves of life will just carry us along…carry us away.
Here are just a few ways we are working at living:
We Don’t Do Video Games, and We Limit Computer Games
My husband and I made a conscience decision to never purchase a video game player or video games for our kids. We know how addicting they are, and we didn’t want to have the battle. Every now and then we let our children play a game on the iPad, but it is not a common practice. This is one way we are choosing to live. Every family has to figure out their way, which might look very different from our family. That’s okay. The point is, choose. Don’t just let life happen.
A consistent anchor in our day during the school year is to have tea and read out loud around 2pm each day. This gets all of us together, enjoying a treat and a drink, and letting our minds go into a good story. We do this for about 45 minutes to an hour, and it is a wonderfully grounding time.
We Go on Adventures
I am not a naturally adventurous person. I enjoy my comfy chair, my coffee, and reading. But I want to adventure with my family. I want my kids to enjoy the spontaneity of life. But I’ve learned that adventures don’t have to be all consuming, wild things. An adventure can be doing something out of the ordinary: A surprise late night run for ice cream, a movie night in bed, a trip to the local café to enjoy a treat. The point is to do something different, and to have a little fun in the doing of it.
One of the things I started doing with my kids was having them enjoy a treat with their eyes closed. I say, “Okay, close your eyes, take a bit. Savor it. Now, tell me, what flavors did you taste?” It has become a fun pastime in our house, and it causes us to slow down and really enjoy what’s before us.
Whatever it is, find a way to savor it.
We Forgive and Begin Again
We accept that we will fail, that will hurt each sometimes, and that will botch up some of our days. We forgive each other, we forgive ourselves, and we begin again.
What ways can you think of to work at living? Start with this question: How do I really want to live my life?
ACTIVITIES & QUESTIONS
- Does technology ever leave you feeling disconnected from the real world? How can you make time to really connect to your life instead of your phone or computer?
- What words do you hope others will use to describe you after your life is over? Do you think people would use those words now?