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

Monday, April 2, 2012

Your Presence Makes More Difference Than Your Presents

I was  recently playing Hide 'n Seek with my two-year-old grandson Liam.  I would of course go hide and the idea was for him to try and find me. However, before long he would just say, "Where are you?"  In other words he didn't want to look for me anymore and that's certainly understandable for a little guy his age.

Sadly, many children are asking the same question about one or more of their parents.  "Where are you?" And I'm confident that a lot of those parents would say, "I'm there for my kids all the time."  Or, "Hey, I give my kids quality time when I am there."

But let's think about how many parents spend time with their kids these days: driving them places, sitting in the stands watching their practice, games or other performances. We take vacations allowing their hands on their phone or video game the whole time, we even go to dinner and all watch the TV screens in the restaurant or check out our own emails much of the time.

We fill every day and every moment of our schedules and many of us wouldn't have time to do something spontaneous with our children even if we wanted to.

But are we ever just having fun together, enjoying meaningful conversations, serving others or playing?  Are we really present even when we're present?  A lot of parents are not.  And our kids have a reason to ask, Where are you?  Don't buy into the lie that says if you're around your kids you're engaged with them.

Children need us to be more than babysitters, taxi drivers and meal providers. They need us to talk to them, be with them and teach them by modeling while we're at their side. They need to do more than play on someone's team. They need play time with us! And we must start early and keep doing it until the day they leave the house for good. Sure, our methods will change but our commitment must not.

Yes, middle and high schoolers will likely try to push us away but we need to stay connected. Don't embarrass them but don't neglect. I remember that our daughter in her teen years would come in to our room and talk. Often it was late but we made the time knowing we wouldn't have it for long. We took vacations and accomplished some milestones together that they will never forget.

Take a look at your lifestyle and schedule. What opportunities to be present with your kids are you missing or could you use better?  Maximize them now. They'll be gone before you know it.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

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

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this great advice. Even though I really enjoy time with my kids, I can quickly slip into disengaging (while still being in the same room). Like you said, there are so many distractions! When I regain perspective on how important my investment in them is, I can much more effectively (and cheerfully) give myself away to them. So I need all the reminders I can get. :)