Resources for the Intentional Parent

The Little Things

I’m one of those people that love the little things. You know, like the one special coffee mug that feels good in my hands. I have a favorite wooden spoon that has a generous scoop carved into it and every time I pick it up to use it, I feel happy. Another little thing that makes me happy is moss. Yes, you read it correctly, I love moss. When I go “hunting” with my husband I get just as excited with all the moss that we walk over, that drapes down the birch trees and carpets the rocks and forest floors, as I do sighting a five point buck! While watching the recently released movie Revenant, I couldn’t help but notice all the amazing moss in many of the scenes!! While Leonardo was crawling his way across the frontier, struggling for life and breath, I was admiring the beautiful varieties of mosses that clung to the rocky outcroppings cliffs and ravines!

When I choose to notice the little things, it brings me joy and fills me with gratitude. I can always find delight in the little things around me and I love looking at the world in this way. Sometimes the days, weeks, months and even the years only provide “little” things to enjoy. Sometimes we don’t have a big event to look forward too. Sometimes we don’t get the big promotion, get to take a true vacation or have the big weight loss, but there is always joy to be had, something amazing to take notice of, gifts in every day and all around us in the little things.

I’ve made it a challenge to myself to help my children notice the little things. As a mom I have noticed times where my kids are “cloudy”, stuck in the routine, the devices, too many days in the house, in their rooms or on the couch. Although home is a place to appreciate, there is much more too be noticed and explored in our outside environments. Some of us live near nature and for those who do, it is easy to access. Little things in nature are of course abundant and easy for our children to recognize when they get the opportunity to enjoy them. Some of the most delightful things to enjoy and appreciate come in a package of hustle and bustle a cityscape. Whatever our outside environment offers, we can take notice of its uniqueness.

Every year my husband and I try to plan an annual family trip to the coast. While there, our perspective is most definitely to “drink it all in!” Our kids scour the waves with their eyes in hopes of seeing a flash of a whale’s tail or the bobbing head of a curious seal. A vacation experience is an obvious time to adventure and appreciate, but if this were the only time, once a year, one week out of the year, that we take time to notice the little things, we miss out on 51 weeks each year of things to be amazed by and grateful for. What we miss when we march through life rather than take it in, can be monumental!

As spring approaches and our outside world is budding to life I think of the many places where we can explore with our families. I may not be able to plan an extravagant “outing” every weekend. A camping trip, hike, or float trip may not always be a feasible activity with time, money and location constraints. What I can find might be a marketplace street filled with color, ethnicity, vegetables and a humming of languages. I might find a park around the corner where my kids can dance in the lacey tentacles of the large willow tree. A walk through the neighborhood, birds dipping in pursuit of Mayflies, dogs barking, a caterpillar on the cracked sidewalk, so many things for our senses to discover.

My husband and I have decided that this summer we are actually not going to be able to take that coastal vacation we so look forward to. We have many time commitments and other areas where we need to allocate funds, so we know this year we need to give it up. This is when I am grateful for “the little things” perspective or to more accurately describe “the gratitude and acknowledgement of the little things” perspective. We get to enjoy all the gifts around, vacation or not, and appreciate what is our own environment, noticing all that is beautiful and amazing about it! I will spend of few of those summer days in the woods, my youngest daughter in tow, collecting more tufts of moss!

“Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant -a seed- this plants the Giant miracle.” - Ann Voskamp

By Kimberly Bridwell, Kudoso Kontributor