Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Leveraging Valuable Moments

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School began this week for many. At least it did for the students in Northwest Florida where I live. On the very first day of school I witnessed a terrible tragedy.
As I drove to work in the morning I passed several places where children were waiting with their mothers (and in some cases their fathers), and the moms (or dads) were texting away on their smart phones while their the children stood or sat alone. Ignored.

The reason I call this a tragedy is because of this: Our busy lifestyles and fast-paced worlds have caused time with our children to be at a premium. Here were precious moments where parents could interact with their children. Instead they chose to have conversations with others who were not there.

What made this even more tragic to me was that this was the first day of school. I can only imagine the fears, uncertainties, and anxieties that the children were feeling.

Here was a perfect time to encourage, to love, or perhaps to teach. (As opposed to the universal send-off for children: Be good. Seriously: Will that admonition really make or break whether our kids obey or disobey the rules?)

How about I love you! or I know you'll have a great day! for the last thing we tell our children before they go off?

Even though my children are grown and I don't take them to the bus stop anymore, I still endeavor to live by those same principles of leveraging precious moments with those whom I love. When I am in a conversation with my wife or one of my children, I try to remember to silence the ringer on my iPhone and turn it over so I am not tempted to look at it if it vibrates with a text or a call.

What if it is an important message, or one of my other children? I remember the lesson we taught our children when they were young: If they want to speak to us while we're engaged in another conversation, simply say "excuse me" and wait until I excuse myself from the conversation and give them my attention. (Hmmmm... Sounds like a great way honor the one we are speaking with, while moving towards checking our smart phone.)

Silence the smart phone, focus your attention, leverage the valuable moments you have your children, your spouse, or your good friend. We may never get those moments back.

Question: What do you do to leverage valuable moments with those whom you love? Share your thoughts below in 'comments'.

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