Stop, Drop and Pay Attention.
by Jeana Lee Tahnk
It’s amazing what comes out of the mouths of babes. This past week, my son said two things in particular that made me laugh out loud and marvel at the ingenuity of a young mind. First, on a cloudy day, he blithely commented, “rain is the cloud’s pee,” then several days later remarked, “ketchup is my bright light,” as he was enjoying his lunch. How profound, even poetic. I’m just thankful that at both times, the endless chatter in my mind was quieted enough that I caught wind of his 4-year old musings.
But afterwards, I wondered to myself if there were other enlightened thoughts of his that I had missed because I was too busy, too distracted or too preoccupied. As busy parents, juggling the hustle and bustle of daily life and trying to stay one step ahead of everything we’re responsible for, it’s so easy for us to miss these simple, precious moments.
Whenever my mother-in-law visits, while immersed in the madness of her two young grandchildren who are usually rambunctiously wrestling, dancing, running around or some combination of all three, she repeatedly tells me, “this is the best time of your life.” And I always look up at her, through the tangle of arms that are draped around my neck with an expression that can only translate to “are you kidding me?” But, I’m starting to get where she is coming from because I look to the future and know that there will eventually be a time when we aren’t our kids everything, and a time when we would appreciate hearing our kids’ musings, or a hello for that matter. As clichéd as it sounds, I really do want to treasure the present because the other cliché of kids growing up so fast couldn’t be more true. As such, I’ve made a New Year’s resolution (no, it’s never too late in the year) to “Stop, Drop and Pay Attention” more often. It’s easy to follow, just:
Stop: Whenever you hear those little voices, stop what you’re doing and make eye contact. And don’t pretend to listen. They’ll call you out on it.
Drop: Drop the BlackBerry, Treo or whatever PDA you’re using and take a minute to ignore your email, Twitter and the sale at Zappos.com.
Pay Attention: Really listen to what your kids are saying. You likely hear something really hilarious.
And here’s a bonus: For those ‘darndest things’ that kids say? Write it down. Keeping those witty remarks recorded in a simple journal will help preserve the special moments when your kid made you laugh so hard you almost peed in your pants.
Sometimes, we’re all too busy being parents and end up missing the best parts about being them.