When things don't go as well as we had hoped and we can put aside our fears of not being good enough we create a rich environment for learning. Today I had a group of teenage mums and toddlers come for a nature play workshop. It was evident at the outset that many of the mums felt out of their comfort zone in the countryside setting. Concerns about getting dirty and a preoccupation with mobile phones prevented mother and child from connecting in the moment. So preoccupied were the mums that they failed to observe how absorbed their child was in something as simple as watching and listening to the rain.
In the past when I have led an activity where people failed to engaged I have become preoccupied with my own fear of failure. This time however and I don't know why I was able to put my fear aside. I let it go and became an observer. What I learnt was fascinating. I realised that whilst we think we are connecting with our children because we are physically present the truth is we are often anything but present. Our minds are preoccupied with thoughts and fears to such an extent that we are unable to connect in the moment. After the session I started to think about the impact of this behavior on the attachments we form with our children.
Attachment theory is something I find fascinating as the attachments we form as children follow us into our adult life. How could I rework these workshops to promote a deeper connection between parent and child? How could I encourage parents to be more present? It then hit me - perhaps mindfulness was the way forward. So here I am off to explore the subject of mindful parenting and when reading I'll try and be mindful not to become preoccupied with the thought "What a bad parent I've been".