My daughter Lisa actually said this to me one day:
Paying attention to other people all the time isn’t easy.
Attention requires ENERGY.
I heard about a little girl who tried to talk with her mom while her mom was racing around doing chores. Her mom emitted an occasional “Uh huh…”, when suddenly the girl cried out,
“MOMMY! You’re not LISTENING!”.
Continuing her work, her mom said,
“I am listening, Honey.”
The little girl protested further:
“But you’re not listening with your EYES!”
Paying loving attention means we are present and aware with our whole being: Mind, Heart, and Body. And that’s a skill that takes time to learn.
Practicing loving attention means:
- Eye Contact
- Body Language (including Touch. Read how HUGS HEAL…)
Being a parent has been called the hardest path to walk in this world.
You stumble and fall, and hurt yourself and others without meaning to.
When my kids were little, there were times I was so worn out by the end of a 40 hour week, all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and escape from the world. I was super burdened with no where to run, no where to hide and no way to change my schedule or agenda. I could only change my thoughts.
Learning to think about things differently – and laughing at myself – kept me from freaking out. I drew this autobiographical cartoon after weeks of only 4 hours of sleep a night.
Just like practicing paying attention, practicing patience (with ourselves AND others) is a skill we need to learn.
Do we scold toddlers for falling down as they learn to walk?
Of course not. We encourage them to pick themselves up and keep trying.
The mistakes we make as parents can be horrendous and cruel at times, because the responsibilities are huge and the pressures are great.
The fact is, we need to forgive ourselves so we can go back out there and keep trying to improve. We can recover, even while we continue going two steps forward and one step back.
1 – Keep trying to do the right thing, though we fail.
2 – Keep merciful and forgiving (to ourselves, too).
3 – Be humble (only God is perfect).
My mom used to say, “As long as there’s LIFE, there’s HOPE.”
And there’s always hope.
Don’t give up!