In the end our presence is all we have – the quality of that presence needs to be minded. In our busy daily lives it can be diluted. We are there but not there – distracted, maybe by technology – externally present, miles away- our minds secretly elsewhere.
John O’Donohue, his book Divine Beauty, has a lovely piece on the power of our presence which is particularly pertinent for parents and teachers. “It has been shown, that when there are two harps tuned to the same frequency in a room, one a large harp and the other smaller, if a chord is struck in the bigger harp it fills and infuses the little harp with the grandeur and beauty of its resonance and brings it into tuneful harmony. Then the little harp sounds out its own tune in its own voice. This is one of the unnoticed ways in which a child learns to become him or herself.
Perhaps the most powerful way parents and teachers rear children is through the quality of their presence and the atmosphere that pertains in the in-between times of each day. Unconsciously the child absorbs this and hopefully parents send out enough tuneful spirit for the child to come into harmony with her own voice.”