She was in a hurry trying to get the kids in the car so she could get to work on time. Her son was standing there in the middle of the sidewalk.
“Hurry up,” she called rather impatiently. “We’ve got to go.”
Her son looked up, mesmerized and with awe in his voice asked, “Mommy, listen. Do you hear those birds?”
Everything in her world came to a standstill. You see, this is the first time her baby boy got to hear the birds singing. He had spent the first several years of life hearing things in such a muffled way that after his ear surgery, all sounds were new. Including those birds on that rushed morning. It took a child to stop this rushed grown up in her tracks.
This was almost 30 years ago and our lives haven’t gotten any less busy. We are in a constant rush to get from point A to point B. So much so that we often miss out on the simple things in life such as hearing the song of a bird.
Take Time to Slow Down and Cherish Simple Moments
There’s a saying, “Stop and smell the roses.” A saying that is intended to help remind us to slow down, take in our surroundings, spend some slow time in the present cherishing every second, don’t worry about everything, take a moment to just breathe.
A few weeks ago, I stepped out of my van at my mother’s and was quickly enveloped in the sweet sultry scent of gardenia. A smell I will probably always associate with not only the south, but with my mom. Sure enough, as I looked up, her gardenia bushes around the yard and house had beautiful white blooms.
For a moment, I stopped to “smell the roses” so to speak. And I started thinking about how small things can cause us to pause for just a moment so we can take it all in and enjoy it. Whether it’s a smell, sound, or something visually pleasing.
As a school teacher, my calendar year runs from August to July. August kicks off the year with the beginning of school and then sometime towards the end of May/beginning of June the school year ends. That leaves June, July, and a tiny part of August for “summer break”. Students live this same calendar year. As we kick off this summer, I challenge all of us as parents to find time throughout the summer to stop and smell the roses with our children. Children learn by watching what we do, so let’s teach them that there is more to life than the rush. Let’s show them how to slow down and take in the small moments. Let’s make memories to last a lifetime.
7 Ways to Stop and Smell the Roses this Summer
1. Have a pajama day. Pop popcorn, snuggle in bed, and watch movies with your children. No internet, no Facebook games, no email checking. Just stop and spend some quality time snuggled with your babies.
2. Take a walk. Whether it’s around the neighborhood or through the trails at a national park, gather the family and go for a walk. Pay attention to what you see, hear, and smell.
3. Play games together. Dust off your old board games, break open that pack of cards, and sit around playing games together. Talk with each other.
4. Go on a date. Pick one day for your spouse and one day for each of your children. Go out with just that one person and enjoy each other. No errands allowed. This should be special, quality time that is done often enough to be remembered, but occasionally so as to remain special.
5. Make time for laughter. Soak up the sound of your children’s laughter as they giggle to their hearts content, and remember to let them hear you laugh too. Tell funny stories. Get into tickle fights. Or just do some silly stuff.
6. Drive out to a place where you can see the stars (or maybe catch a sunrise). Spend some time taking in the night sky and all your surroundings.
7. And maybe, just maybe, somewhere along the way, stop and smell some roses.
This list could actually go on and on, but you get the idea. Take a moment every once in a while to make sure you are spending time with each other. Time where the demands of the world are put on hold, even if only for a few moments to take in your surroundings together.
How do you and your family take time to smell the roses?