Here’s a really sad realization that struck me recently. See if it strikes you too. Let’s say you’ve been troubled by what a multi-tasking maniac you’ve been lately. You feel like you're missing your kids, even though they’re under your same roof. Everyone has been whirling in their separate orbits like spinning tops in a box, banging up against each other, but not really connecting.
So you resolve to carve out that kind of precious time with your child or teen in which you are fully present-- lovingly, openly and completely. You put your “crackberry” aside, you turn your back on your ever-proliferating “tickertape of to-dos” and sit down with your child at the table, your eyes holding theirs, fully available to converse and catch up.
So here’s the question. Just how do you think your kids will experience your attentiveness?
My guess is that our kids will immediately associate that kind of fullness of attention with their being in trouble; “oh jeez- what did I do now?” Isn’t that sad? Think about it. In other words, unwittingly, we parents have tended to bring ALL of ourselves to those interchanges that are problem-oriented, not lovingly-available oriented; - not “hey, I just want to be with you,- know you more deeply,- see where you are these days: I really just want to snag a slice of time with one of my absolute most favorite people in the whole wide world.”
Why is it that the times when we train every fiber of our being into our interchanges with our kids, tends to be when we’re confronting a problem? --Not when we’re moved by the sheer heart-swelling joy of being with our children, totally and lovingly? My guess is that we get so spread thin with our perversely overcommitted, multi-tasking routine, that we get pulled out of our inwardly preoccupied orbits only by powerful yanks from the environments. And those jarring powerful pulls, sadly, tend to be problems, not loving joys.
Maybe we need a daily blackberry memo-to-self: “Don’t forget to bring your whole, fully-attentive, loving self to be with your child today!” “Don’t forget to be as keenly engaged with your teen in enjoyable moments as you are when you're unspeakably frustrated with them!"
We grow the deepest, most loving and lively connections through these moments of open-hearted "every fiber of our being" attunement to our children (and our spouses, siblings, parents, in-laws, friends,- all those folks Thanksgiving draws into our orbits). Magically, in being fully attuned to others, we ALSO connect more deeply, lovingly and vitally with ourselves ...and all we have to be thankful for.