My son, Christian, woke up at around 6:15 on Sunday morning (there’s no lying in when you have an early riser in the house- and that was actually late for him!) I went and jumped into bed with him like I sometimes do in the mornings, and we got chatting about the bike park, tractors, how snow is formed, and a few other very important matters in the life of a four year old. In between the banter, I found my mind drifting off to the weekly meal planner I wanted to do, the pictures that needed to be hung, the reports I needed to write, and all sorts of other ‘not so important but all consuming’ thoughts which took me far away from the beauty of ‘just being’ in the moment with my son- connecting with him, bonding with him, and enjoying every minute. Minutes which I will only ever have once with him; time and moments I can never get back.
Research tells us that 47% of the time our thoughts are somewhere else and we are not focused on what we are actually doing, saying, or the people we are with. We are not ‘present’ in the present. How sad, how true, and what a profound impact this so often has on the people we interact with, in particular, our children. In the world in which we live, we seldom have time to consider what food we are placing in our mouths, how it tastes, how it feels. We are seldom able to do only one thing at a time and strive to multitask as much as possible, yet in doing this we are losing out on so much of what is happening around us. We are losing out on what matters the most- connecting with the ones closest to our hearts. With the high demands of life and the frantic pace at which we live, realistically there aren’t too many moments in which we can connect. What matters is that we take the few moments of togetherness we have, really be in them and be mindful, instead of ‘mind full’. In that, our children will feel listened to, heard, and loved.
When I realized in that moment with my son, that I was being ‘mind full’ instead of relishing the joy of bonding, knowing that that exact moment would soon be over forever, I reeled in my wandering thoughts, and I brought them back to where they should have been- connecting with my four year old about matters of bikes and tractors. I am often powerfully reminded that the seemingly irrelevant things for us as adults, may just be the most important parts of our child’s day. Find moments to connect- it may be as you fetch your child from school, when you are saying goodnight, doing homework, or just a minute of brief interaction- and make it count. Pay attention, be present, be mindful and in that, be connected to your children, no matter their age. “Slow down and enjoy this moment- you only get it once”.