This Week’s Word is…ATTENTION

There are words that are essential to the Mothering Conversation. Words that represent qualities and behaviors for us to try on if we are to evolve the conversation of mothering. Each week on our blog, we feature one of these Words.

This week’s word is Attention: to give someone our attention; to acknowledge his/her presence, to take notice of.

This past weekend (Easter weekend), I had lots of screen-free time with my family. We visited with extended family and did lots of playing outside. I didn’t turn on my computer all weekend and I barely looked at my phone, except to answer a call / make a call. Wow, even as I just typed that sentence, the irony strikes me. Really!? I only used my phone for making phone calls?!

In our high-tech society, we are faced with more opportunities to be distracted than ever before. There is just so much to look at and so many people to connect with and share with. In many ways, this is a blessing, no doubt. Yet, after I get to spend a few days of low-tech, electronics-free time together with Marc and our kiddos, I am always reminded that our basic human needs are as present as always, even in today’s society. What needs?

Sharing stories. Listening to each other. Laughter. Hugs and kisses. Eye-contact. Holding hands. Time to enjoy each other and be spontaneous together. FUN!

The impact of me giving my full presence and attention is equivalent to me telling my loved ones, “You matter to me,”  “I want to hear what you have to say,” “You are valuable and important to me.” Which, of course, is true. And I want to make sure they know that. No matter how often I tell them, my words become less meaningful when my behaviors are not aligned with my words.

EXERCISE: Attention in Action Spend a few quiet minutes in prayer, and then follow the steps below:

  1. Each day this week, choose one or two tangible ways to communicate your love through your behavior; through your presence and attention. (i.e.: For me, I will close my laptop and greet my children at the door when they come home from school.)
  2. Think about what you tend to make more important than being fully present to your children. For example, I became aware that my response to my children’s needs or requests often began with, “I just need to finish this email…” While I would never say that email was more important than my children, that was what my behavior, in effect, communicated.
  3. As you gain awareness around the “priorities” that take your attention away from the most important people in your life (i.e.: my email), pray for guidance and take action to more fully align you behavior with your true priorities.

 

Self-Care: Giving ourselves a few minutes of our own attention and acknowledgement each day is also extremely important. Read more about that here.

This week’s word is Self-Compassion

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