Being present with your children is one of the most important and valuable gifts you can give them. Your time, your heart and your full attention are all precious gifts, and they are the gifts that will empower them to live lives of abundance.
The simple but meaningful gifts of you are all ingredients of love. They are the components of your love for them that will set them up for life. The gift of good schooling, a lovely home to live in, nice clothing, opportunities to take part in extra curricular activities, etc., are excellent gifts, however, giving our children the gift of being present is the most powerful gift ever. When we stop and are present (for them) in any situation, we offer them our listening, hearing, asking questions and responding to them in meaningful ways while showing them genuine empathy. Through this, when we add value to them. This value is something that nothing or no one can ever take away from them. Thus, another opportunity to set our children up for a life of success. This foundation is unshakeable.
A foundation of real value and significance impacts so many aspects of life which include education by creating the desire to embrace a wider and stronger capacity to learn. Educators are excellent and significant people in your child’s life. However, your influence as their parent is paramount. Your voice is and hopefully always will be louder than any other voice. Spend predetermined time with your children and create space to intentionally listen and to hear what’s happening in their world. Start with them when they are very young and develop and cultivate an environment with in your relationship with them, a safe place for them to pour their heart out to you, sharing with the world around them and about the minutes in their days. If your children are older and you feel like you haven’t started early enough, don’t worry, the best time to start is now.
Whatever your situation, here are a few ideas of how you can cultivate these spaces for meaningful engagement with your kids:
Three Simple Examples of Good Connectivity:
- When they come as little ones, perhaps they show you a painting, avoid saying things like ‘it’s lovely’ rather take a moment to stop. Turn your attention to them and ask them what the painting is about – even if it looks like a mess to you. Listen to their answer and ask questions that will allow them to expand in their responses. Congratulate them and ask more questions about it until you think you have heard the whole story behind the painting. As you do this, although it may seem small and insignificant, you are adding so much value to them allowing them to feel like a person of significance in this world.
- When they play sport, ask them how they went, what did it feel like to win or lose? Again, listen to their answer even if it’s a short one. You will find gold in there if you take the time and look for it.
- When they have friends ask them what they like about their friend, why have they chosen them to be friends with, etc?
I could go on giving multiple examples because the opportunities are there, in front of all of us. We simply invest into these relationships and listen the possibilities are endless. It isn’t hard, it just takes time, patience and genuine interest but the results are priceless for them, and you will be surprised how much you will get from the experience as well.
Remember, it’s ALL about them, not about you, so if they don’t look interested in your questions at that point of time, don’t be offended and give up!!!! Look for another opportunity, may be when they are ready to stand or sit still long enough to think and answer your question such as bed time, in the car, dinner time or some quiet time in the day. They are just like us adults and aren’t too keen to be interrupted when concentrating on something else, so don’t give up, they want you to be interested, and they NEED you to hang in there with them. Remember, you being PRESENT in their lives is such an essential and powerful ingredient to who they become as adults.