When something difficult happens, it is so easy to feel pressured to act. We think it's important to know the right thing to say and do. Sometimes it's best to do nothing. Instead, try being.
When your child is upset with a friend, be with it. Yes, you have good ideas about how they could fix the problem, of course you do! But they don't probably don't need your ideas, they have their own ideas. They may only need your presence.
When a friend is upset, it's hard. But don't interrupt, explain how it's going to get better, ask them what they've tried. Just listen. That is a rare and beautiful gift!
When your child has a big project due and doesn't start until the last minute, don't worry, intervene, explain, or lecture. Don't focus on what you should have done to prevent this, what they should have done, how the teacher could have handled it better. Stay nearby, stay calm, and let them be in charge. Help if they ask, but don't take over.
When you feel crappy and angry, don't do anything. Don't write that email, post that complaint, or yell at that innocent bystander.
When one of your kids does something really stupid (and they will), don't lecture about why it was a bad idea. Allow them to discover that if possible. At the same time, don't rescue them from the fallout. Allow them to experience it and learn from it. Stay nearby and love them quietly and calmly.
Hard things can be our greatest teachers. But for that to happen, we have to be receptive to them. We can't run away into action.
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.