When I started this playful self-discipline project way back in January, I intended to practice my own self-discipline so that I could model it for my kids. Because if you donâ€™t have it you canâ€™t teach it, and also, itâ€™s pretty hypocritical of me to expect my kids to be able to do something I canâ€™t do.
As I have worked and written and thought about it through the year Iâ€™ve realized that this is also a chance to develop an awareness of the qualities Iâ€™d like my kids to have in their lives, both now and when theyâ€™re adults themselves. The difference is subtle, but a positive one. Instead of focusing on improving the areas where I feel I am falling short, I can focus on the ideals Iâ€™d like to move myself and my family towards.
One of the values I hope to cultivate in my life is Beauty. Yes, Beauty with a capital B. Not style or fashion or good looks. Not being pretty or handsome or attractive. Not even experiencing pleasure. Beauty, of the sort that is the hallmark of fine Art, Music and Literature. I want my children to enjoy Beauty now, with the freedom and innocence of childhood, and later on, with the experience and wisdom of maturity too.
As a practice of playful self-discipline, I want to be mindfully aware of the Beauty around me every day. I want to enjoy good music, excellent literature and art that touches my soul. I want my home to be beautiful, not through expensive furniture but from the touch of care and love. I want be more aware of the Beauty that is alive and growing in my surroundings, the kind of Beauty that goes all the way down.
Like snail shells.
And freshly picked strawberries.
And the hairs on unopened poppies.
The beauty of summer! Care to join me in celebrating it with some playful self-discipline? Letâ€™s embark on a mindful appreciation of summer Beauty.