A couple of our kids might live a little too much in the present. They are so spontaneous and serendipitous that they take little thought for the past or the future. They have the hearts of poets, and that is a good thing.
One or two of the others might live a wee bit too much in the past. They are nostalgic and romantic and love their memories and their diaries and enjoy reflecting back on the best and most memorable times in their lives. That is a gift, too, and one we are proud to see in them.
Still another son and daughter perhaps are a little over-oriented to the future. They are brilliant goal-setters and planners and it sometimes seems like they enjoy what they are anticipating more than they enjoy the present moment. Being able to see and create what is coming is a marvelous talent.
Of course what we wish for ourselves and for all of our children is the rare ability to co-exist in the past, the present and the future all at the same time, because there is so much joy in each of them. With that in mind, we recently sent a short email to our whole family — and we thought we would share it here with you:
“Take a moment to reflect with us on finding a dynamic balance between the past, the present and the future. Those who live too much in the past (usually older folks) find themselves longing for what they remember as better times gone by and, as a result, miss out on both the joy of the present and the anticipation of the future. Those who are too consumed with their future goals and plans (be they dreamers or schemers or grass-is-greeners) often fail to appreciate either the present or the past. And there are even some who are such exclusive occupiers of the present (often poets or artists or other celebrators of the moment) that they miss out on the perspective of the past and the fascination of the future.
“Back when you were all kids, we all memorized the Sanskrit lines, ‘Yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow only a vision, but today, well-lived, can make every yesterday a dream of joy and every tomorrow a vision of hope.’
“And scripture tells us that, ‘All things are present to God.’
“What a blessing and an enhancement of joy it would be to be able, as God does, to live simultaneously in the present, the past and the future — to cherish the past and remember well its joys and perspectives and lessons; to partially create the future through clear goals that are consistent with our visions for ourselves; and to be fully present in the present, aware and in tune with each current beauty and person.
“Each of the three can and should be a place of joy: the warm and glowing embers of precious past times, never letting them snuff out or die; the fulfillment and serendipity of the present, to be filled with wonder; and the awesome excitement of future stewardships imagined and planned for, to anticipate and look forward.
“A balanced awareness of each of the three creates a personal, inner synergy where memories consult our present decisions and our future goals: where our present opportunities reflect past blessings and beeline toward future goals; and where our future plans draw on who we are and who we have been.
“The 'now,' the 'back' and the 'forward' should also be linked to gratitude! Our prayers should express thanks not only for past and present blessings but for the opportunities and challenges we trust God's will to give us.
“Each person has his or her own unique past, present and future, but the collective of our family can help all of us on each of the three. The biographical book we are writing together can help us all to reflect on and recall the humor and joy of so many past memories that we don't want to ever take for granted. The wonderful blogs that most of us do can heighten our appreciation and awareness of the present. And the goals we share with each other can enhance the excitement of our future dreams.”
Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who are in demand throughout the world as speakers on parenting and life balance. You can visit them anytime at www.TheEyres.com or at www.ValuesParenting.com.