How many times this weekend were you fully present with your kids, spouse or friends? Not looking at your phone, watching TV, or thinking about all the other things on your to-do list, but instead giving your full attention to that other person?
In our ever-connected world, I find it hard to be fully present. To give my full attention to anything. My husband was at a restaurant recently and saw a table of young girls, each with their faces buried in their phones, not engaging with the people sitting right beside them. Isn’t that an all-too-common sight these days? I’ll even admit that I had my phone on the table during our date night this weekend, ordering a birthday present, chatting with the babysitter, even checking Facebook. Hard to fully engage with so many distractions!
When do we ever give something our full attention? When are fully present with others? A phone, iPad, computer always by our side. Simultaneously managing multiple conversations through text, email, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. Multi-tasking has a hit a new high between balancing jobs, families, friends, chores, volunteer activities, homework, carpooling to extracurricular activities and more.
The other night, my kids were begging me to play duck duck goose with them; incessantly begging and begging and begging. I had just walked in from work, was trying to check the mail, put away the school papers and eat some dinner. I didn’t want to play duck duck goose. I just wanted a few minutes of peace and quiet after a long day at the office. Wanted a few minutes to catch up on my life, check my email, talk to my husband. So, I said no. And I said no again and again and again. All the while my focus was elsewhere – listening to the news on TV, checking Facebook, responding to an email, eating some dinner.
I finally gave in and agreed to play duck duck goose after dinner. The battery on my phone was getting low, so I plugged it in to charge while we played this fast-moving game of chase. So, for these few minutes, I found myself unplugged – fully present in the game; fully present with my kids.
And that’s when it happened…
I was suddenly surrounded by the biggest little kid belly laughs. The kind of laughter that comes from pure joy because they can’t help but laugh; because they are truly happy and having fun. The kind of laughs you only get when you’re fully engaged in their play.
I wish I’d caught it on video so I could replay and remember those laughs! I wish I had them to share with you! It was such a great reminder how important it is to put down our phones, shift our focus and be fully present – even if only for a little bit.
Sometimes we have to disconnect in order to truly connect with those whom we love.
My challenge this week is to take time to be fully present – even if only for a few minutes, an hour or maybe a whole afternoon. Will you join me and take time this week to be…
- Fully present with your spouse
- Fully present with your kids
- Fully present with a friend
- Fully present with God
See how you will be rewarded – maybe not with little kid belly laughs, but with a smile, appreciation, love, a stronger relationship.
I’d love to hear how this works for you. What are some ways you focus so you can be fully present? How do you disconnect in this ever-connected world? How has being fully present made a difference in your relationships? How has it made a difference in your faith?