As a parent, it can be so easy to get caught up in the yesterdays and tomorrows: What are we going to do to keep the kids busy this summer? Remember when Johnny was just a baby, and we could cradle him in our arms?
As a parent in today's world, it's even easier than ever to distract yourself from now. Mobile devices make it possible for a person to distract themselves any second of the day, no matter where they are at that moment. And while we can all make the argument that we are using these devices purposefully ("I'm just shooting off an e-mail for work." or "I'm checking our calendar to see if we're free that weekend."), it's not surprising that research shows that these behaviors are having damaging effects on our children.
A recent study at Boston Medical Center examined the effects of parents using their smartphones or mobile devices while eating out at a restaurant with their children. Parents: as a group, we should consider these results deplorable! Parents are way too absorbed in their devices and kids are going to great lengths to get any ounce of attention they can, creating very negative interactions between parent and child. You can read more about the study in Time magazine.
My challenge to parents (myself included) is that we are more intentional about our focus on right now. Put down your distractions and look at the world around you. What is happening in your life right now? What can you enjoy about your children at this moment? When was the last time you found yourself down on their physical level, face-to-face, making eye contact and listening to what they're telling you right at this moment?
Sometimes it seems we get so caught up in the details of what's coming next and what we never got around to doing before that we lose sight of what really matters--this moment! Because that's all you have right now!
So take this moment to be present with your kids. Talk to them, read a story to them, listen to them, play with them. Because you can. Right now.