After you read the blog - be sure to review the Mindful Living tips, check out the guided meditation and answer the prompts in the Reflect & Journal section.
My worldview around curiosity changed many decades ago when I listened to Canada’s former first lady, Margaret Trudeau, share her philosophy that we need to see the world through our children’s eyes. She said unless we experience their full range of emotions and connect with what brings them laughter, joy, happiness, sadness and suffering, we cannot effectively address forced displacement, food scarcity, economic disparity, bullying, discrimination and violence. Her words struck a sensitive chord with me and from that moment, I made a pact with myself to see the world through a child’s eyes. To this day, I cannot fathom what losing basic human rights and freedom feels like to a child when they are faced with global inequity.
Like mindfulness, seeing a child’s experience through their eyes requires paying attention in the moment with an open, curious mind and caring heart. With fresh perspective and an attitude of curiosity, we are far better positioned to grow, learn and relearn. It allows us to drop our fixed perceptions rather than getting trapped by limiting beliefs.
I really began to feel the impact of my efforts to listen from a more open hearted and curious place when my two sons entered their middle school and high school years. Our interactions became centered on asking questions and exchanging viewpoints, rather than shutting each other down because of not getting our way. While these communication practices took time to develop (and continue to be a work in progress), we were able to create a sustainable foundation for healthier interactions in which diverse perspectives were appreciated. These experiences undoubtedly contributed to my becoming a more patient, understanding and loving parent. They also made the bond between my sons and I stronger, forged through mutual respect and understanding.
Afterall, parents play a pivotal role in shaping not only the lives of their children but also the broader community. One of the most impactful ways they can do this is by modeling healthy interactions within the family unit. First and foremost, children learn by example, and the behaviors they witness in their parents become the foundation of their own approach to interpersonal relationships. Parents who model effective communication, emotional regulation, and conflict resolution teach their children essential life skills. These skills enable children to navigate relationships, cope with stress, and maintain better mental health throughout their lives.
Furthermore, when parents exhibit healthy communication, empathy, conflict resolution, and respect within the family, they pass these valuable skills onto their children. Children nurtured in such environments are more inclined to demonstrate empathy and respect towards others in their communities, serving as harbingers of a future culture marked by cooperation and inclusivity, transcending boundaries and nurturing a global sense of unity and understanding. Isn’t this the kind of world we aspire to create?
There are certainly moments when trying to see the world through the eyes of others (especially our children!) feels like a daunting task. It is not always an easy path to tread.However, it’s in these very moments of challenge and discomfort that we have the opportunity to grow, both as individuals and as a society.
By persistently pushing through these challenges, we discover that the process of fostering curiosity and open-mindedness inherently builds our character and fortifies the bonds that connect us as humans. Regardless of our life circumstances or the obstacles we may face, consistently training our attention to consider the perspectives of others as an integral part of our daily mindfulness practice is a powerful tool for personal growth.
In the end, this commitment not only makes us stronger but also contributes to the creation of a more empathetic, inclusive, and harmonious world — a world where our collective strength lies in our willingness to embrace the diverse tapestry of human experiences and viewpoints.
If you’re curious and feel motivated, try the tips below.