Fully Present Parenting

Apr 16, 2013 by

dad& son2

Several years ago the kids and I were visiting family in Ohio. We went to my nephew’s little league game. Being kids, Shay and Lauren got bored and started running around this beautiful park playing tag. Shay was running from him sister, turned back to see where she was, and looked forward again in time to run head-on into a giant oak tree. When I got to him, there was so much blood I couldn’t tell if it was coming from his nose or mouth. Someone handed me a cloth to wipe the blood away and what I saw made me a little woozy. You know when you have a thick, raw piece of beef and you slice it in two – how it lays open? That was Shay’s upper lip.

My sister-in-law and I immediately got him into the truck and headed to Children’s Hospital. The story ends well…wonderful pediatric dentist and a few stitches later, Shay was thankfully just fine.

We as parents are quick to react to a crisis when our children are involved. They get a booboo; we spring into action immediately. Even as parents of adult children, when they are in trouble, we are quick to offer advice or any help we can provide from many miles away. They are our priority, and we will always be there when they need us.

But too often we wait to be available to our children only when they are in crisis. We hop to it when it’s a 911 moment ready to swoop in and save the day. But our children need us now.

Today’s children are bombarded with all sorts of philosophies, temptations, violence, and anger. They must grow up way before they should ever have to think or act like adults. Their exposure to the world and all that encompasses places them in positions and decision moments that no child should have to face.

But we can protect them simply by being available.

Our children need our time. They need to be heard – all their fears, desires, and questions. They need to know there are adults who have their best interests at heart and are going to move heaven and earth to be sure they are protected, cared for, and trained in the ways to face what the world is throwing at them.

How do we do that? Be fully present.

  • Make your children a priority.
  • Carve out time for their interests and needs.
  • Help them with their homework.
  • Sit down to a meal with them and discuss their day. (A good dinner game is Highs and Lows. Each person tells their lowest point of the day and their highest. Opens up for revelations and good discussions.)
  • Read a book to your children.
  • Answer their questions.
  • Pray with them.
  • Go to their extra-curricular activities.
  • Have a good laugh with them every day.

It’s not rocket science, but it is purposeful and will take some of your time. We all lead busy, demanding lives, but your kids need you before the crisis hits. They need you now.

How are you being fully present for your children?


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