I CAUGHT a moment a few days ago on a calm evening.

We were at the beach, as we often are. Living by the sea is a gift I never take for granted. I watched my son as he played, throwing stones into the air, trying to catch them as they fell to the ground. As he played he sang and hummed to himself.

Then he stopped his game, and looked out over the sea, contemplating something. Then he said out loud: “Wow, look, it’s so beautiful, dad!”

That was the moment I caught with my camera. I liked the photo but what it couldn’t convey were his sentiments and my feelings. Perhaps words can’t either.

It was one of those perfect moments, of bone-tingling happiness, for me as well as for him. It was an appreciation of the simple joy of being alive and sharing a magical moment with a loved one.

Screeds of writing exist on the importance of trying, as best we can, to live in the moment in this way – to be present in the now and not be overwhelmed by ruminations about the past and future.

Aye well, this is easier said than done, especially these days when the cost of everything seems to be going through the roof. It’s not easy to stop worrying when you struggle to provide for your family and wonder how you’re going to pay the bills.

But I’ve realised that, especially when we are in stressful situations, the ability to appreciate the simple moments that unexpectedly happen is vital for our wellbeing and mental health. It’s what can make us resilient.

The thing is, unless we teach ourselves to focus on the magical moments we have, they can be too easily missed. I once read that the Dalai Lama said he gives thanks and appreciation every time he wakes up without toothache!

Of course, after reading that I actually developed toothache the next day! A coincidence I’m sure, but after my visit to the dentist, my appreciation of being toothache-free the following day was all the greater! It’s what’s called a hedonic reset, when you can appreciate something simple in ways you hadn’t before, because you had taken it for granted.

My friends from Ukraine who are here still appreciate a night without air raid sirens and the terror they create for their kids. I can take such a thing for granted but I still pause sometimes and look at my children when they sleep and give thanks. We all have our own rest buttons, based on our experiences. But the importance is the appreciation.

That’s why the sharing the moment with my son at the beach was so powerful. I had been distracted by other thoughts and worries, which took me away from where I was. Happily, my son’s singing brought me to my senses. He unknowingly taught me that which I already knew, but wasn’t heeding.

Our senses are bombarded with adverts and images of what we are made to believe will make us happy in life. There is an ideology behind it which promotes the idea that status, wealth and being on top is the pathway to fulfilment.

These things may be nice to have, and ambition and success are good things, I’d never say otherwise. But they are not the true worth of who we are and what we have. They can dazzle us, like a rabbit in a headlight, so we fail to see what’s right in front of us.

That’s what appreciating the moment means: to see what we have in front of us. It can be waking without toothache, or sleeping safely, or sharing the joy of a loved one singing by the sea as he is awed by its beauty. It can be anything; the trick is to be truly there for it.

Thank you, Lewis, for bringing me into your moment on that calm evening and helping me to notice.

Like all children, you are a teacher as well as a child.