One thing that changes everything in your family

by Mary Ann on March 1, 2011

Grandma reading to child pictures

Being present satisfies tired adults and children.

Yesterday I was telling you all about my trip to my daughter’s wedding. I was tattling on myself and my oldest daughter, the fact that two mom’s couldn’t keep up with seven small children. I shared one of the reasons why I wanted you to know how we fared and today I want to tell you the other reason, the one thing that changed everything.

Second, I was reminded how much effort it takes to be present. This one thing, which can change a family dramatically, is not

girl outside pictures

When you feel like being present the least, it can pay off the most!

always easy. I am thinking of the night that I tiredly put all the children to bed. This was after about 30 minutes of trying to read Understood Betsy to the four oldest girls. The two three year olds were everywhere, buzzing their trucks, jumping on the bed, jumping off the bed. We had to stop repeatedly to remind them of the rules for quiet time reading, something that was new to them.

As a matter of fact, I had to keep reminding the four older girls too. Finally I just shut the book and said, “lights out”. I couldn’t wait to hear quiet! After another twenty minutes of child wrangling I managed to have everyone in bed. It was quiet, at least right then. I stood in the hall with a slightly dissatisfied feeling. Hmmmm. I had gone through the grandma motions of reading and tucking but I was focused on getting them all quiet. After all it had been a loooong day!

small girl reading photos

Being present takes practice, practice and more practice.

As I stood there I remembered that being present even for short amounts of time heals hearts, soothes feeling, opens gates to communication, deepens love and satisfies tired adults and children. So I tiptoed back into every room and kissed and hugged and spoke quietly to each child. It only took a few minutes but it made all the difference in an otherwise very busy day.

Being present is a gift you give to your children and yourself. It takes practice, practice, practice. But this one thing will secure you dividends in your family that you cannot imagine, even if you are only present for moment at a time.

I am going to share an interesting video and some thoughts on presence. I also want to share a small portion from the book Understood Betsy on what happens when we are present. Stay tuned, you won’t want to miss it. In the meantime, please share your experiences of being present with your children and how it makes you and them feel. Use the comment section. I want to hear from you!

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Karen March 3, 2011 at 4:09 am

Thank you so much for this post. I think this is probably the part of parenting that I struggle with the most. My mind is constantly wandering to all the things on my “To Do” list (or the book I am currently reading and can’t wait to get back to 😉 ) I am often told, “Enjoy them while you can,” and I think the principle of being present is why i hear that so often. You won’t regret the neglected chores or unread books as much as the precious time missed nurturing the bond between you and your child. I have been working on this and am (very) gradually getting better about it. I see and feel a difference with my children, and our whole home, when my husband and I take these precious moments to really BE with are children. What a great gift it is!


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