As homeschooling families, our days start early and can run very late. They include everything from schooling multiple children to juggling household tasks and everything in between. We work at home and support spouses who work away from home. We drive and drive and drive, to and from activities for our children and all manner of people and places requiring our help and expertise.
Most of the time, as homeschoolers, we all do all of these things together. That is, we are never very far from our children, and involve them in most everything that we do. But have you ever felt, by the end of an extraordinarily busy day, that you hadn’t really spent any quality time with your children at all?
Undivided Attention (UDA) refers to really being there, instead of just being there. It’s the difference between being surrounded by your children, and really noticing they are there. It is about talking and listening, instead of just directing activities. And it’s about looking them in the eyes, giving your complete and undivided attention, and establishing true contact and real connection during an otherwise frantic day.
You can probably recall the column written by Erma Bombeck some years ago before she died. It was the one where she said she wished she hadn’t worried so much about a clean house but had spent more time with her children instead. Erma wasn’t just talking about herself, but sending a message to all parents that sometimes you don’t notice the important things until it’s too late.
Too often we become wrapped up in the business of our lives, pushing all others aside in order to get it all done. How often have you tried to keep a child busy (with television, a toy, some school work) so that you could get something else done? The child demands your attention a little bit more than usual, and you feel an increased need to push that child away further, even though the exact opposite is what you both need.
UDA can take only moments, but fortify the bonds of a family for life. It’s free and yet priceless at the same time. Don’t let frantic days rob you of moments with your children. Grab random moments throughout the day and reward yourselves with UDA whenever the mood strikes. You will never regret moments of just being there with your children, or spouse, or anyone special.
How about right now?