Some days my children teach me more than I teach them.
I’ve started to notice a pattern with the kids that when they’ve had too much “together” time (be it with family, friends, or crowds), they need to unwind and be by themselves. This pattern is present with both kids, but it’s particularly pronounced with my son. He loves being in the middle of things, but sometimes he just wants to chill out without being bothered by his sister, the puppy, or other intrusions.
He handles this by building a fort…for just him.
He gives clear signals about what he needs from the family.
He politely tells us to not “desterve” him.
He rests his body.
He relaxes with a book.
He uses every available blanket and cozy pillow he can find to make his retreat comfortable.
He takes whatever time he needs to quiet his mind and rest.
When I see the fort I shudder to think about reassembling the decor of the family room, but then it occurs to me that he’s making a great decision. My little guy is listening to his body – his heart – his needs and taking care of them. It’s a healthy response to the hectic pace of life.
So, here is the question.
Why don’t I do the same? If my seven year-old is better at listening to the needs of his heart, mind, and body than I am, then I’ve been suckered into some lie. The lie that busy or productive is better than rested. What has deceived me into ignoring such a basic life need as rest? How many other of my daily challenges are actually caused by the fact that I am running with my needle in the red? If I ignore my own peace of mind and body, the story usually ends with the unpleasant version of myself. I need to noodle on this some more…and learn a bit from his behavior.
At my age, I doubt I would relax very well in his little fort-o-blankies, but this Sunday I’m definitely taking my son’s cue and squeezing in a nap…. so please don’t “desterve” me either.
How about you?