In life, there are many valuable things; a car, a house, a bank account, things we buy to fill our cars and houses… then there are the precious intangibles like our family and health. It could be said though that the most valuable thing we’ll ever have in this life, besides our health, is our time. Time is an expensive commodity. It is hard to come by and is non-refundable. It is the most expensive gift you could ever give.
Every time you hold your baby and gaze into his or her eyes, you are communicating “You are special.” As children grow through infancy into toddlerhood we long to see the world through their eyes. We adore their growing personality and delight in their discoveries each day – that’s honor.
One of the best ways we can honor our young children is to take life slowly, try to stay in the moment and enjoy each little expression. Each demonstration of unique personality, and care for, caress, and delight in this amazing little person. 1
My experience the other day reminded me of this truth. It was a good reality check for me and a reminder that my kids need my eyeballs, not just my words; a connection with me. Get off the phone, look them in the eyes, put the phone away already! Where’s the fire, what’s the rush?? And this reality check is not just with our kids. This is a screen-dependency of epic proportions! Guess what folks? Many of us are not much better than our own teenagers. You know what I’m talking about! What are you doing late into the evenings? Scrolling through Facebook updates and watching the glowing screen! The stats are alarming. Of those who use Social Media, Ninety percent are Young Adults, ages 18-29; close in behind at seventy-seven percent are in the middle adulthood bracket ages 30-49; and in third place are teens at seventy-three percent. 2
It was yet another loooong line up at the checkout the other day when I couldn’t help but hear the dialogue of a little girl with her dad. She was probably around 6 years old, cute as a button, and working every angle she could to connect with her dad. To get him to look away from his phone for one second and look at her in the eye.
I preface this conversational retelling by saying that I have no idea who these people are or what their circumstances may be. I can also say that if you caught me in a grocery store at any given time, and depending on the day, I may not be the greatest example of parenting either. Nonetheless, it moved my heart and I had to fight the urge to grab the Dad by the shoulders and tell him to just look at his daughter in the eye for a second and listen!
Here’s what I eavesdropped…ahem overheard…
“Daddy, I read all my sentences in school today and wrote about them, do you want to hear what I wrote about?” Dad mumbles a reply while scrolling through his phone, “hmmm, uh sure…”. The daughter replies, “I wrote about… It’s your favorite too, right?” Dad doesn’t reply to that but says, “where are those new shoes I bought you? Why aren’t you wearing them?” The daughter replies, “I wear them, just not today.” She tries another angle to connect. “I love____(some stuffed toy), they are so cute and my favorite thing is that they are…”. No reply. “Daddy, I don’t really like reading, do you like reading?” No reply. the entire time she is politely standing beside him shuffling her feet staring up at him trying to get a glance at his eyes. He then says while still staring at his phone, “Do you want a new pair of Jordans?” Daughter replies, “You just bought me a new pair daddy. I don’t need another one”. The dad insists, “Yea, but don’t you want a new pair of Jordans? Let’s go get you a new pair of shoes.” Daughter responds, “Okay daddy.” I’m sure she is just going along hoping to get another crack at connecting with him.
Do we afford our closest family and friends the same moments of undivided attention we provide even our most distant professional relationships? Ouch. Just because we get paid to give our undivided attention to someone should not be the only reason to give it. If asked, most of us would say that our family and closest friends are more important to us than these and hopefully more than money.
Why not start today by “banking” your device a few set times a day to intentionally connect with the world around you. Put that third appendage away for a bit! Let your five senses begin to get grounded. Feel the ground under your feet. See the trees. Smell the air. See people’s faces. Smile into their EYES. Slow down the multi-tasking. Try to do ONE thing at a time, even for a moment. Time is one thing we cannot get back. Enjoy it. Perhaps for the sake of someone else at the start. Be surprised at how it will give back to you when you invest it wisely.
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13
At Rancho Paseo Medical Group we encourage a healthy lifestyle and offer personalized plans, counseling, and referrals for smoking cessation, alcohol cessation, diet, exercise, obesity, diabetes, and weight loss to help provide support to overcome these challenges. With an emphasis on the whole person it is our goal to serve patients physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We are inspired by God’s ability to heal and restore hope and give a purpose for our lives. We encourage you to practice and share your faith with us as well. We are willing to pray with and for you, if you desire, and encourage you to embrace all aspects of your health in a journey to wholeness.
Rancho Paseo Medical Group
264 N. Highland Springs Ave.
Suite 4 & 5A Banning, CA 92220
1 Parenting Tip from the National Center For Biblical Parenting, “Teaching Honor – When Do We Start?
2 “Social Media and Young Adults, Feb. 2010, Pew Internet & American Life Project
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This post was written by MU Rancho Paseo Medical Group