Your presence matters

Saturday August 24 2019


By Min Atek

‘Mommy,’ the child called out,’ ‘when you get time, I would like to talk to you.’
I nearly choked on what I was putting in my mouth.

The tone and words used implied I was not often available. I dropped everything I was doing and invited the child for a chat.
It wasn’t your typical random conversation. It was a matter that had weighed heavily on the child’s heart.

It was a moment of mixed feelings. Firstly, I was shocked at the details. Then, I was humbled that the child would trust me with their heart matters because I knew there was no chance I would have shared such details with my parent, when I was growing up. But at the same time, I felt a little overwhelmed.

Quietly, I gave thanks for the wisdom that I knew is deposited on the inside of me. As a parent, God has deposited wisdom in me.
And while listening, I took time to draw from internal wells so that I would guide my child appropriately.
I wouldn’t damage this window of opportunity.

I knew that my response together with my unsaid expressions would have direct impact on any future conversations of this nature.
So I listened attentively and accompanied it with gestures that showed I understood. It was essential that I hid all manner of shock.

One of the biggest human needs is the need to be given time; ample and quality time.
We all crave for it. And as I listened on, I reflected on my own need to be listened to. My need for quality time.


That alone motivated me to be fully present.
To put the phone very far away, to look into the child’s eyes and demonstrate that what bothered them was a bother to me as well.
Children need assurance we are available to navigate the waves of life with them.

I have observed that folks whose tanks are full are pleasant to be around and by being fully present, I was filling my child’s love tank.
My total and complete attention spoke that I loved and valued them.

It’s not always easy to be present.
It’s not necessarily easy to be kind and gracious to a child who has the ability to be rebellious, but then again, who hasn’t been rebellious themselves?