Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Being There When You Communicate

We were walking through a mall not long ago and saw a dad and his young son making their way to do some shopping. Unfortunately, the dad was talking on his cell phone the whole time. Now to be fair, the dad may have gotten an important call that he had to take at that moment and could have felt guilty about having to do even that.

But I've seen others doing similar kinds of multi-tasking during opportunities for deeper communications. I've done it, too! I'll be reading the paper, watching a game or most recently counting in Russian the toes of our little grandbaby Liam. And all of a sudden I realize that Jackie is trying to talk to me and while I started out listening to her I am no longer there.

Usually she can jolt me out of my coma by ending her comments with, "And I'm getting a divorce tomorrow." The problem was that I had let myself be distracted instead of looking her in the eye and listening.

How many special moments are we going to get when we have the attention and presence of someone we love and then we miss out on the full experience of talking to them and enjoying them completely? Without being morbid, I still have to ask, "What if those moments were over tomorrow?" Wouldn't we be wishing for must one more chance? In fact, those moments won't necessarily end because someone dies. They can be dramatically reduced when our kids go off to college or a loved one moves away.

Well, the good news is that we currently have that one more day with those we love. Don't waste it by letting disruptions, calls that could wait until later and games whose outcomes really don't matter that much get in the way. Take every opportunitiy to enjoy your kid, spouse and others as much as possible every time you're with them. Do something unique, talk about things you've not discussed lately, find out more about what they love to do and then enjoy it with them.

What's more important in the restaurant with your son or daughter? Checking your email or finding out what their favorites are or hearing about their day. Can you live without reading the newspaper to take time to hear your spouse's special or challenging moments of the day?

Now, is there a place for games, grandbabies and reading the paper or checking the latest on our smart phone? Of course. Sometimes we have to give one another a little space and be sensitive to the circumstances under which we try to communicate more deeply. Hey, if the Patriots are playing is there anything else to talk about? Not really.

Seriously, we need to keep communication, interaction and even intimacy with those we love safe and protected from the tyranny of the urgent. In an earlier post I talked about a little boy trying to get his dad's attention but unfortunately dad was reading the paper. When the boy realized his dad wasn't listening he finally crawled up on his lap and said, "Daddy, listen to me with your face." I have a hunch more of us need to add some face time to our interactions. Make the most of every moment now.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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