Go for a slow and mindful walk.
Show them every little thing that catches your
Notice every little thing that catches theirs.
Don’t look for lessons or seek to teach great
The lesson will teach itself.
Love this piece of parenting advice from The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents by William Martin.
I was far too fast as a parent.
Far too fast.
Lessons, I think, were too much like frontal assaults. They tended to suffer from the same sledgehammer effect that afflicts most attempts at movie-making by Christians.
We’re far too explicit, far too direct.
It’s the art of the oblique, the indirect. Ehud parenting. Left-handed, minus the dagger.
“Train up a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
More proverbial, ancient eastern wisdom – though our English translation conceals the beauty and simplicity.
“Train” conjures up the instruction regarding facts and procedures; external principles being transferred through classroom impartations, when the metaphor employed by the proverb is much more primal and intimate. It is the mother touching the palate of the child she would wean by sharing whatever she happens to be chewing. There was no “Weaning 101” class where the child was taught the value and necessity of leaving the breast for the brisket. There was only the seeking out and utilizing of natural palate touching moments, of sharing what was being chewed and in so doing shaping tastes that would not only draw the child from teat to table, but would shape appetites that would last a lifetime.
This extends far beyond the weaning of a child. It reaches all meaningful relationships. It informs (or should inform) all mentoring walks, for they should be just that, mentoring walks. Slow and mindful. No desire to teach great things is here. The best mentor is the one who isn’t trying to be one. The best mentoring sessions are the ones that are anything but that.
This is at the heart of parenting, of mentoring, of friendship.
The sharing of what I happen to be chewing upon at the moment, of the little things that are catching my eye.
This, of course, implies that we are, in fact, chewing on something – and that it’s something worth sharing.
It implies that we are walking slowly enough to notice the little things.
And that we are moving slowly enough, and closely enough, to do the sharing…