In the world of search engines and smartphones, we’ve become somewhat conditioned as a culture to trust the offerings on the first page. No different when it comes to parenting as a simple search of advice yields 220 million results. But go no further than the first page where you will find “50 Easy Ways to Be a Fantastic Parent.”
Each generation has become a bit more “How To” as if we can manualize a task that requires humility, adaptability, patience, and presence with each different day with each different child who is different each day. One step further, the aforementioned requirements are actually qualities for each is a continuum depending on where you are with who you are becoming.
Search for “presence” and you get “about 487,000,000 results” in a blistering 0.64 seconds and a noun defined as the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing. Yet the most important quality of being responsible for a life dependent on you is the quality of your presence: who are you in this moment with this child in this present situation. Presence exudes where you are on your own path: the beginnings, the present, and what you hope and dream of. You know this “feeling” when you are with someone and sense that anything is possible, and its opposite when you are with someone who exudes that nothing is possible.
There is no easy way here. And no easy way. Not on this path. And it just is. And it is the blessing and responsibility of being a human being in the present. If this has a Zen flavor, well, I think the elders understood something important in the search before search engines. Practical wisdom in its simplicity is a product of the search for truth and the effort of making sense and making meaning of complexity—a given if you are present and breathing life.
Every time you look into the eyes of your child, in peaceful or troubled times, your presence will speak more than the words you search for in your mind.