elem boy and cookieLiving in the moment–one of the foundations of Buddhism. Life is richer when we savor the taste and texture of our meal or lose ourselves in the excitement of a watching a big game.

After the moment is gone, it becomes The Past but it keeps giving us its richness.

The past offers many gifts. It….

  • shapes my personality
  • teaches cause-and-effect
  • contains all of my life lessons
  • generates infinite gratitude
  • empowers me
  • inspires me
  • produces family traditions and special rituals
  • is the way out of fear and anxiety
  • causes me to trust

I talk about the past with children because they deserve all of these gifts.

teapotThe past produces family traditions and special rituals.

Start a conversation with, “Remember when we….” and feel the bond of a shared experience. Sometimes these particular memories lead to a new family tradition. One girl was thrilled to be taken out for “English high tea” for her fifth birthday. After reflecting on it with fondness, she asked her mom, “Maybe we could make it a birthday tradition?”

babysittingThe past causes a child to trust.

Any child would burst with confidence to hear you say: “You used to be such a great helper with your baby brother when you were little; now you are a great babysitter!” Trust increases when children realize that they are important enough to you that you notice their strengths and their growth.

The past contains all of the child’s life lessons.

Sometimes we tell kids stories that are likely to heighten their consciousness of a life lesson: “You didn’t know how to bike to school safely by yourself when you were little and now you do.”

Life can only be understood backward; but it must be lived forward.   Soren Kierkegaard

Note: When there’s significant pain in a child’s past, forgetting is a powerful defense mechanism.  A child therapist can provide needed reinforcements to help children work through difficulties. 

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