The Vigilant Parent: Giving your Child the Present of your Presence

Picture this: you're sitting in a park on a beautiful spring day. Beneath you is a blanket on which your picnic basket sits. The sun is warm and shining.  It's a perfect 75 degrees. Every once in awhile there's a nice cool breeze that blows through your hair. The children are running around in the grass, shoes off with the nice crisp, cool grass in between their sweet little toes.  You breathe in the scent of the fresh air as you glance up at the sky, full of pillow-y cotton ball clouds. Then you glance back down to your iPhone to check your e-mail. You decide to answer a few, just to get it out of the way. Just as you're finished, your phone rings. It's your sister, who just HAS to tell you the latest scoop on her crazy friend's ex-husband's new girlfriend. You laugh as you talk, paying little attention to the time. Life is good.

Now,let me ask you...is there anything in particular that stands out to you in the above situation? I'll give you a hint : it's everything after the word iPhone. In today's world of immediate gratification, our phones goes with us everywhere, and every call/e-mail/text must be answered as rapidly as possible. There's a sense of urgency unknown to previous generations. It's life in the fast lane. Some parents find are not being fully available to their child(ren), during times when they deserves their parents full attention. We notice this and can point it out rather quickly, but do we ever stop to think: am I that parent as well? It's much harder to recognize when its us who's answering the constant e-mails, texts, and phone calls.

Now, it's not that the distractions of life are more important that our dear children, not at all. But put yourself in their shoes. Imagine hearing this from your child: "We went to the park, Daddy! We played tag and swung on the swings.... but mommy was busy on her phone, so she couldn't play tag today or push me on the swings." OR "We went to the park, Daddy! Mommy played tag with us, we flew kites together, and then she pushed us on the swings!". Which scenario would be a better memory for your children? Which one would you be proud of?

I'll admit - I've been guilty of it myself. A few weeks back, I came across an article called Dear Mom on the iPhone. It literally changed my family's life in just a few short weeks. We keep the TV off in the evenings. We color, cook, and play together. We go for walks. It's glorious. I'm starting to be come the mama I've always wanted to be. It's much easier than you would think.

So take a minute, and ask yourself: am I giving my child the present of my presence? Not just our physical presence, but our emotional as well. If not, ask yourself, how can I become more engaged and attentive? What can I change to become the parent my child deserves?

Make a choice today to be a vigilant parent. Stay engaged, and soak up every moment with your kiddos.

God Bless! xoxo

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