This morning, the day after the Presidential election, I was a distracted parent. I was tired because I had been up most of the night watching the poll results. I was on my phone, reading articles about what may come. I was absent-minded and not fully participating in the day with my son. I was a bystander in my own life, foolishly seeking solace in my phone and my scattered, worried thoughts.
My turning point came as I was putting away groceries while my mind drifted to politics and the future. I heard my son rummaging in the shopping bags as he often does, but when I looked away from the pantry I found him opening a package of panty liners and sticking them to the kitchen cabinets. Wake up calls come in many different forms and in this case, baby powder fresh scent.
In my tired haze I realized this – fretting is useless. It’s not going to help a single thing and it’s not going to change the outcome of the election. However, this one thing became very clear to me: being a mindful parent is the best thing I can do for myself, my son, and for my country. Regardless of who the President may be, that statement holds true.
In this morning’s moment of grocery chaos, I snapped out of it. I unstuck all the damn panty liners from the kitchen cupboards and scolded myself a bit. A lot. I scolded myself a lot for not being ‘all there’ while my son went about his day. So, I will be there to guide my son, and to demonstrate and teach the values that are important to mindful parenting – and are key to creating a country that is inclusive of all of us. I will demonstrate kindness, integrity, emotional intelligence, patriotism, love, patience, respect, and the grace that comes with accepting the future before us, whatever that may be.
I will listen to him, and teach him to be an active listener, because I think as a nation we have not been listening to one another. Regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, or income level, we have stopped listening. We have decided to use our intellect to find ways to further divide ourselves instead of improving all of our lives.
In a little bit, nap time will be over and I will close my laptop, put my phone away, and go live life with my son. In time I hope the fruits of my labor will be an adult son who has grown to be a mindful parent – and a mindful American.
There is no more time for distraction – only time for growing, guiding, and learning to create a better future.