Why Present-Moment Awareness Is Blissful and Engaging for Kids, But Causes Frustration and Disappointment for Parents and Teachers
My 12-year-old son is the most amazing teacher for me on my spiritual path. I call him Present-Moment Man. He somehow manages to structure most of his present moments so that they’re filled with the things he loves, and these pursuits are so engaging that it’s impossible to pull him out.
I believe present-moment awareness comes naturally to kids, and we adults usually do everything we can to beat it out of them. Kids know life should be fun. Kids know you should follow your bliss, engage in things that excite you, and learn whatever you are naturally, in that moment, inspired to learn.
My son will enthusiastically and quickly comprehend an impossibly-worded manual for some advanced electronic device that I’d rather cut my foot off than try to figure out. He’s a skilled and avid videographer who seems to intuitively know how to use any complicated equipment related to this passion. But the basics of 7th grade math elude him; the monumental burden of actually writing down and following through with homework assignments repeatedly proves insurmountable; and I still have to ask him to brush his teeth in the morning.
I admit that I’ve spent many years trying desperately to “rehabilitate” my son – to cure him of his insistent present-moment tendencies so that he would more successfully fulfill teachers’ and society’s expectations of him. But he has proven himself incurable on that front.
He is the happiest, funniest, kindest, and most insightful person I’ve ever known, in spite of frequent academic failures, teacher disappointments, parental frustrations, and the ensuing consequences I impose on him. He simply, peacefully, refuses to expend any genuine effort or energy on anything that does not resonate with him. I still try – valiantly and in vain – to teach him the importance of caring about all of his schoolwork. But secretly, I’m envious . . . and a silent part of me cheers him on.