Savor the Moment Like a Toddler

 In Blog, Outer First Class

Last month on vacation my husband, my son and I went home to Iowa to visit my mom. Will got to meet some of his cousins, which made for endless entertainment, and for the first time he had ice cream in a cone. I thought it was just a treat, but it ended up being a lesson in mindfulness for me. How can an impatient toddler teach mindfulness? The lessons are there if you just keep your eyes open!

Have you ever watched a two year old eating something new and delicious? Will obsessed over that cone the whole time he ate it. He looked at it. He licked it thoughtfully. He stuck his face in it and giggled. The world did not exist in that moment. It was just him and the ice cream cone. It was not a snack; it was an experience.

Watching him reminded me to take time to savor the moment when I am eating, too. I try not to eat things just because they are good for me, but because they taste great too. So often meals are rushed and I feel like I’m shoveling the food in so I can move on to dishes or clean up or writing or edits. Not only does that make me feel sad and wasteful, research has shown that eating quickly contributes to undesirable outcomes like obesity. Well-chewed food that comes from eating more slowly and mindfully is better able to be absorbed by the body, boosting the nutritional value of what you just ate. Why bother with a healthy lunch if you are swallowing it so fast your body doesn’t know what to do with it?

When I’m stuffing my lunch into my mouth I think of Will deliberately making his way through that heavenly ice cream cone and I feel ashamed. Toddlers are not known for their patience or their long attention spans, but he was completely devoted to the task at hand. If a two year old can take time to savor, so can I.

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  • Eric

    Your story reminds me of Jesus directing the disciples to have faith like a child. Child like faith is without question and totally committed. Will experienced his ice cream like we should experience our faith, with total enjoyment of the experience. Adults let too many things get in the way of their relationship with Christ. Just enjoy it.

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