The number 1 way to cultivate contentment in children
It was one of those moments when you feel like you are moving in slow motion and there is literally nothing you can do to alter what you know is going to be baaaaaad. At the beginning of the pandemic last year, my 8 yr old, while riding her bike, face planted in the driveway after cruising down the hill of our neighborhood with no regard for her mother yelling "control your speed." She ended up damaging her two front permenant teeth irreparably and had to have both extracted with the goal of using orthodontic treatment to realign the remainder of her teeth to close the gap. Ughhh, the trauma of it all is creeping back up as I write this. Fast forward to Friday almost a year later she has taken the whole situation in stride and seemingly has adjusted very well to the fact she is 8 and has smile similar to that of a kid 2 yrs younger. We have reinforced she is more than her smile and her beauty transcends whether or not she has those two front teeth.
We have many, many years of orthodontic treatment and dental reconstruction in our future
and to be honest it was weighing heavily on me. How could I lift this dread and find a way to be ok with where we are right now with these constant thoughts and worries running rampant.
We were driving home from the orthodontist and for a quick second I thought about my own orthodontic experiences and how I got braces just a few years ago because my family was not in a position to pay for braces when I was a child. I mentioned to her that I was so very happy that we were in a position to pay for her to have orthodontic treatment. I mentioned that so many people do not have that option and a wave of gratitude came over me and I continued to share with her what I was thankful for.
Gratitude is the short cut to contentment. Being grateful and then sharing your gratitude is the number one way to cultivate contentment in your life and the lives of your children.
If you are feeling unsettled and in a space of wanting/yearning/regretting. Take a moment.
Maybe with a couple of intentional breaths, or maybe you settle your gaze on one particular object in your vicinity. Then Shift your gaze/awareness larger to your body, to the room, to your situation, then to your life as whole and see if you can sift through that awareness and see the abundance of goodness that may be present. And be grateful.
Once you are in that space of gratitude, share with your children what came to you when you meditated on gratitude. Share what you are grateful for and create an open space to invite them to share.
After a few moments had passed, my daughter thanked me for helping her get her smile back. I looked up in the rearview mirror to see her smiling from ear to ear with her toothless grin and in that moment I could feel her contentment with her present situation and I felt content she was bold enough to smile and shine even through the rough times.