I wasn’t a particularly wild child but I remember events back as early as kindergarten when the teacher “put me in a timeout” for behavior unbecoming of a 5 year old. I my defense, those pigtails hanging from the head within arms length was begging to be tied into a knot.
“Time outs” continued on a periodic basis through grade school and into my high school years with progressively greater implications on my social and sporting endeavors but never quite severe enough to deter me from my next adventure in and out of the classroom. Study hall wasn’t my thing; the school parking lot needed the trash picked up anyway.
At some level, I knew that the adults were trying to teach me something…anything. On the surface I heard: “Get your hair cut, pay attention, live up to your potential”. Down deeper it was “will you please just stop and think for a moment?”
Please just stop and think. Please actually stop for just a few moments and do a little self-reflection. What was it that I did or maybe didn’t do that put me in the “time out”? Honestly, I don’t recall taking much advantage of those forced moments of self-reflection.
40+ years later, I find myself revisiting the need to just stop and think. Actually, a daily need to slow down and reflect. The pace at which I find myself and those around me moving through the days, weeks, months is barely short of frenetic. All work, messages, conversations, connections…urgent and instant.
My brief daily reflections are increasing in frequency [morning and evening] in the form of a 10 -15 minute “quite time” jotting down a few thoughts in a journal. Reflecting on questions such as: What went well today? What might I practice doing different tomorrow? What’s the next step on an issue that’s needs to be addressed?
Taking time each day to “just stop & think” is providing tangible benefits. The pace of the day is slowing down as I find myself more present, less stressed, more thoughtful. More often, I am ending my days with energy in reserve. I am thinking that a virtuous cycle has potentially been set in motion.
I am thinking that the elders in my past were much wiser than I gave them credit for at the time.