The new year is a time of opportunity to pause and reflect on past accomplishments, new goals, and adventures. One of our goals for 2023 is to incorporate mindfulness into our day. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, mindfulness is “the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.” The best way to teach our children to be mindful is to adopt the practice ourselves. I remind myself “slow and steady” when I find I’m juggling multiple tasks and feeling a lack of connection.
Today we drove to Texas State University, our favorite spot to enjoy the simplicity of nature and watch turtles swim around and bathe in the sun. We figured turtles would be the best to teach us about being slow and steady, and it’s a great place to admire the many scenes of nature and to help us jump start being in the moment.
We walked around the Theatre Center and J.C. Kellam Administration Building looking for our friends to peep through the ponds, the remnants of a U.S. Federal Fish Hatchery. While there, we read I Am Peace, written by Susan Verde. This book is a sweet reminder for children to take in the moments of the day, practice patience and kindness, and calm their emotions.
We enjoyed the illustrations in this book; the peaceful and colored poses encouraged us to practice yoga poses as we sat around near the pond. We laughed as we all tried different unsteady poses together. This story is a great reminder of the many benefits of mindfulness and how important it is to integrate this mindset into our days to bring balance and peace.
Texas State University has been recognized as a “Tree Campus USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation and is home to two state champion trees. This program helps universities by providing a framework for growing their own community green space. As we walked around, noticing the various trees and plants on campus, we searched for and located the “Champion Shumard oak” (The Shumard oak is in the 600 block of University Drive near the J.C. Kellam Administration building). Nate reminded us of the community tree giveaway this month; he picked up a flyer when we were at the Public Library, and this sparked a conversation on the importance of planting trees as a community. As we walked back to the car, we talked about our new year goals and reflected on our best memories of the past year. Nate and Nayeli raced back to the car, forgetting all about the slow and steady!!
Written by SMGA member Christina Casas-Moreno.