by Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com
There aren`t many movies I would watch more than once. Somehow that`s just not something I do. However, one movie that I`ve watched incessantly over the years and which I never cease to learn new things from is “Dead Poets Society”.
Brilliantly acted, starring Robin Williams, among others, the writing is rich, the storyline smart, and the messaging powerful.
If there is one central message that this movie conveys, it`s “carpe diem” — translation — “seize the day”.
Depending on what stage you might be in life, this concept will likely have a different meaning for you. For parents, the sheer power and impact of these words is a force to be reckoned with. The idea really is why wait til tomorrow when you can do it today.
It`s not always an easy idea to explain to kids. However, it is such an incredibly important one.
By circumstance, coincidence, and accident, I`ve had the opportunity to meet many people from different walks of life who have come face to face with the idea of `living today because tomorrow may not come`. They`ve encountered this idea only after being faced with a huge challenge, life and death struggle or a personal tragedy.
I`ve never fully understood people who put things off until they retire. These things are usually what they`re passionate about or dream of or hope for. How sad to bottle up all that potential happiness for decades down the line.
How do they get through each day I wonder?
Don`t get me wrong, I`m all for having a plan, being realistic, taking things in stride, but what if retirement doesn`t come?
At no point is an individual more aware of time than when they become a parent. 6 weeks, nine months, 2 weeks overdue, born at 11:09pm, 6 feedings, 8 soiled diapers, 2-week check-up. The calendar is a permanent fixture of parenting. It also makes us aware of how quickly time goes by.
Of course it`s impossible to enjoy every moment — when challenges present themselves — but living in the present, seizing each and every day with your children is such a precious gift that most of us overlook. It takes practice.
The demands of family life today seem increeasingly daunting. Working outside the home, activities, homework, daycare, babysitting —- it doesn`t always feel like a 24-hour clock. That`s when enjoying the little things takes on a whole new meaning. Teaching kids how to relish the simple moments is a richly rewarding experience for teacher and student — in this case parent and child.
A simple case and point. We were in Niagara Falls recently and took a lovely walk after dinner when I came upon a striking bed of flowers. With my camera already in hand I began taking photos of these stunning blooms. My family had continued walking ahead of me. (I tend to lag behind when holding my camera!) Anyhow, one of my kids realized that I was not with the rest of the family and came back to see what I was doing. I explained that these flowers were so gorgeous that I had to take pictures of them — close-ups, different angles, etc. That simple event left a mark. When we looked at those photos later, everyone remembered. It was literally an example of stopping and smelling the roses! or in this case stopping and admiring the flowers.
If as parents we spin and twirl on the rollercoaster of parenthood without ever getting off and taking stock will we ever truly enjoy the ride?
Don`t put off til tomorrow what you can do today. I`ve blogged before about how I`m always babbling about this to my children. Repetition works wonders sometimes!
I think they get it, each in their own different way.
And now, I do too.