Mom and Dad Are Mine At Dinnertime
Sunday, September 8, 2013
“I AM HAVING DINNER WITH THE KIDS. I WILL CALL YOU BACK AFTER WE ARE FINISHED.”
This is the text I received from my friend, Jean, yesterday.
“Fantastic!” I thought to myself. Lucky kids.
The message she sends it that they matter enough for her to just BE with them and focus. The gift she gives them will last them a lifetime because it is an energetic imprint of what real connection and being fully present feels (and looks) like.
I remember my mother taking phone calls during dinnertime and feeling ignored and unimportant. She was a divorced single parent doing her best to support herself and she basically worked through dinner. She had no awareness that her drive caused her to be “not present” which made her kids feel unimportant, rushed and not seen or heard.
It turns out that the little things are not so little.
Small and subtle actions in the daily life of a parent can make a huge difference in how a child feels about themselves (self-esteem) when they go out into the world. The imprint a child receives at home will contribute greatly to who they are in the world outside the home, but most importantly, the inside world of their soul...value and self-worth. Not to mention that the behavior modeled for them will become habitual when they interact with others.
A FIrst Grade teacher whose class I used to read for as a literacy volunteer, Jamie Devore, would ask her class to stop what they were doing when I arrived, look up at me “in the eyes” (she would say,) and “say hello so she can feel it”. Some would say she is teaching good manners. I say she is teaching her students the ART OF CONNECTION and BEING PRESENT.
In this day and age of technology, it is even easier to take a call at all times or just look at your email while you intended to be spending time with your child. Multi-tasking has become a valuable and acceptable skill in our technological and Orwellian age 2013.
But make no mistake, it has an effect on your child.
How do you handle this when you are with your kids?
I encourage you to fight the temptation at least when sitting down to share a meal.
The presence and attention that my friend Jean has communicated for years when she focuses on only her family during dinner, has no doubt helped to produce kids that are incredibly present young adults...which is how I experience them.
Whenever I see a child on the telephone texting during a meal with family, I am reminded of my childhood of disconnect at the dinner table and it makes me sad that they have been taught that checking out and choosing not to connect with those in front of him/her is acceptable.
I turn off my phone at dinner no matter who I am with...how about you?
I know there are other parents out there like Jean. Would love to hear from you!
I am going to ask Jean to share something about her parenting experience here as a guest blog, so check back soon...