I found this short poem while flipping through this book. I’ve seen it several times on the bookshelf, and it always catches my eye. I like the simple nature of it; the direct advice it gives, even though it may be unpopular advice.
This is pretty much exactly how I intend to raise my kids: free of over-scheduled days, free of mountains of toys and games, and remembering that I am their parent first and foremost, not their mode of entertainment or their drill sergeant. Obviously, this is a difficult thing to do; if it were easy, we wouldn’t need to write books about it. But the hard stuff nearly always leads to the best outcome, in parenting, as I’ve been told, but also in life.
This poem could very well be about how we treat ourselves. When we over-schedule, we have no room to be ourselves; when we inundate ourselves with gadgets and toys, we become obsessed with them and envious of others who have more, or different, things; when we constantly work to please ourselves, we only become our own prisoner.
We need to recognize that those temporary pleasures are actually limiting us from growing, and put them aside, choosing instead to focus on long-term, simple joys that lead to our ultimate happiness.