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.

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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?

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