I sat at that restaurant with my husband and kids, fighting the urge to answer the text I had just heard ding at the bottom of my purse. Surely this was THE message I couldn’t miss. Surely someone was in dire need of my help.
But my resolve to leave my phone at the bottom of my purse increased as I looked at the tables around us, noticing that at almost every table, someone was on some sort of electronic device. I watched as the other people at the table looked around the room, bored and unengaged. The message being conveyed to them that what their dinner companion was reading on their phone or Ipad was much more important than the living, breathing human being sitting across the table from them.
I knew I had previously done what everyone on a phone in that restaurant was doing and today, I would stop minimizing my loved ones presence by answering that text message.
And I think back to my distracted days. Back to a place and time when my days flew by in a rush of activity. It’s easy to blame electronics for this life of distraction we live. But if I am being honest, I fell victim to this distracted life long before text messages and Iphones. My son was just four years old, back when I didn’t even own a cell phone, and I tucked him in to bed one night with an “I love you” and “hurry and buckle up.” At the time, we both laughed and kissed each other good night, but that encounter has never been far from my mind.
A reminder of the years I spent distracted by the smaller things in life.
I don’t know about you, but when I am faced with a nine month deployment, one of my coping skills is to fill my calendar with a whole lot of responsibility and a whole lot of activity. Much of my son’s early childhood was spent getting in and out of cars and “buckling up” to move on to the next event.
But somewhere along the way, my eyes slowly opened to the more important things in life.
A friend facing life threatening cancer showed me how to literally stop and smell the roses.
A family member facing imminent death showed me how to really absorb life.
A quickening of time when I reached my 40’s, slowed my pace to notice what really matters.
Living in a culture that possessed a slower way of life taught me how to love life, not just live it!!!
So I strive today to put down my phone and look my children in the eye.
I put my computer aside when my teenager sits down next to me to discuss what is happening in Ukraine.
I stop making dinner for five minutes when my husband walks in the door, to give him my undivided attention.
These things may sound simple, but for me, they are not. I like to accomplish things. I like to get things done and I am good at staying on schedule.
But it’s in these little moments we capture life to the fullest. It’s in validating our children and their thoughts and emotions; in honoring our spouse with our time and attention; and it’s in giving of ourselves in these little moments that show others they matter.
I never want my loved ones to feel like they get the leftovers of my life. Instead, I pray they will feel as if I’ve saved the best of myself for them!!!
Questions to make you think:
Does the amount of time and attention I currently offer my child convey that he or she is a top priority in my life?
Where do I invest the bulk of my time and energies?
Do I have any commitments or time wasting distractions that I could eliminate in order to spend quality time with my family?
** questions taken from Hands Free Mama, pg. 126.