BY PAMELA JO BOWMAN, MESA, USA — Before we even got to Newport Beach we, of course, were planning activities for our three-day, two-night excursion. We talked about the driving and the meals and the organization and the final clean up. We were trying to figure out how to keep the kids occupied so we could get the neccesary work done.
It was then that I realized we were denying our children a learning opportunity about life. If we did all the work and they did all the play … they missed out and so did we. That wasn’t what I wanted to teach my daughter. So while we were in Newport, we spent some time talking to our children about gratitude, contribution and responsibility. This subject became our Newport vacation theme. We adjusted and told the kids our expectations for their participation. There were no arguments. They got busy and we all worked together and we all played together.
The last morning, the Moms and the children took turns telling each other what we were feeling grateful for at that moment. For me, being able to take time, just relax and live in the moment was wonderful.
I chose not to share what was in my melancholy heart with them. It had begun the previous evening when we went to watch the sunset. It was so clean and bright and beautiful. I was watching the people laugh and play on the beach. I watched my daughter with the other kids. I was amused at how they love to tease each other! I watched the sun slide quickly below the horizon. It reminded me of the African sunsets.
I remembered then that there are children in this world who don’t have the opportunity to appreciate a sunset or have mothers who teach them about work and gratitude. They work to survive and are grateful to have work. A sunset to many means the end of another day and the beginning of another cold hungry night.
I realized then that there are children in this world who are much “older” than I am. I could feel the tears brimming my eyes. So many sunsets I have enjoyed and felt inspired by. So many moments I am grateful for. So many friends that have touched my heart and changed my life. So many opportunities to stop and just…be. A teachable moment on the beach…for me.