I’ve never been good at multi-tasking. It’s not that I didn’t try. I tried for years. I just can’t hold my thoughts together when I’m working on multiple projects at once. It’s always been this way, so it’s not just because I’m getting older. I admit being jealous of people who have bookmarks in several books right now, digital or otherwise. To keep plot lines in context? Not a chance.
Suddenly an inability to divide attention is a hot commodity.
To listen with full attention is in demand. Personal devices, certainly good and necessary, are perhaps the most common enemy of our desire to give all our attention to what our loved one has to say. To be emotionally present with others communicates their importance.
As we finish this series of blog posts on the topic of blessing children, we will now focus on making an active commitment to giving them our undivided attention.
What we can do to develop their spirit
Look for opportunities to talk with them and find out what is going on in their minds. Ask good questions that allow them to respond however they want. Help them sort through their dreams, opinions, wishes, and just generally be available. Be honest with them about your own thoughts and goals. Integrate their faith and morals when it is natural to do so.
Author Gary Smalley wrote about spiritual growth, “Our purpose in listening with full attention is to be able to take what children share and weave it into words and stories that teach new truths and communicate not only a blessing, but also principles for living.”
Expect to pay a price
From his own experience with his three children, Gary found that his commitment to bless them meant:
- Hard work–to provide a blessing to each child
- Time—to meaningfully touch and hug them
- Courage—to put into a spoken message the words of love that have been on the tip of my tongue
- Wisdom and boldness—to highly value them
- Creativity—to picture a future for them filled with hope and with God’s best for their lives
Yet we also get a blessing from the joy we feel at seeing a child’s life bloom and grow because of our commitment to them. It is in the giving that we receive.
Ways to bless children right now
- Let the child wear something of yours (a necklace, a baseball cap) during dinner because you trust the child can handle it.
- Ask, “What would it take for this to be a great weekend for you?” and try to see that it happens.
- Learn a new age-appropriate joke and tell them.
- Make their favorite dinner on a day other than their birthday.
Note: The concept of the blessing, along with some of the ideas here are taken from the book, The Blessing.
Tweetable: When you commit yourself to give undivided attention to kids more often, expect to pay a price. Click to Tweet
4 ideas to bless kids with your undivided attention beyond making eye contact and listening. Find them here. Click to Tweet