Pay Attention!

We have all heard it before. Something like: your not going to reach the end of your life and wish you had spent more time at work. Or: what really matters is giving to the people you love. 

Yes, such sayings abound, and with good reason. Yet it is somehow easy to forget the deep truths behind those words. And then something happens to remind us. I had such a reminder recently. 

I was with a group of youth and young adults and I asked them a question: If you could share a meal with any living person in the world, who would you share a meal with?

I was thinking that it would be interesting to see who people admired and wanted to get to know. I thought the question would reveal people's heroes, or people they want to learn from, or people who have accomplished something that we are curious about. Instead, the majority of answers were family members: Grandparents we never knew well, siblings who live far away, and also those near to us who, in my mind, ought never to be on this list. 

These were young people who live with their immediate family, and  yet they shared that if they could have a meal with anyone on the planet, they would choose an unhurried meal with their brother/father/sister/mother! 

And so, as I was reminded of the central place of my own loved ones in my life (see above picture :) I wanted to pass on this reminder, and this plea. Give to those you love. It has been said that we move through life with 3 gifts: resources, time, and attention. Far too many of us focus on making sure that those we care about have enough resources, when what they really need is our time and attention. 

Parents, especially parents of teenagers and young adults, take you child out for a meal. Focus just on them. Turn off your phone, clear your schedule, and gift those you love with your life giving time and attention. If you do nothing else this holiday season, do this. 

Pay attention! They need you!

1 comment:

Tez said...

I was challenged by a friend who was telling me about her challenge to her self to make more eye contact with her child instead of listening and multi-tasking, listening and texting, listening and surfing the web....just to make eye contact and listen. I often find myself consciously having to turn away from the counter and make eye contact for the duration of the conversation. Now, a lot of parents of teens find that the best conversations occur while driving, in that case, I will have to vary my plan!