Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Inspirations January 10, 2010

I'm home with sick kids today. I didn't want to be, and felt HUGE amounts of guilt for leaving my Primary ladies without a chorister :( To be honest my tummy's not feeling the happiest either, so today will be a day spent trying to entertain my family in a "Sabbath" manner.

Earlier this week a friend posted on Facebook about a Daddy-Daughter date he had with his little girl. He had come home from the temple with "a handful of thoughts to do", including starting up a weekly date with his daughter. It wasn't anything extraordinary, just decorating and eating a cake they made, but I have no doubt it meant the world to his little one.

I want to spend a little time today talking about the things we do with our little ones. Whether they be your children, your grandchildren, your nieces or nephews, or your best friends' kids, everyone out there has access to a child who is in need of special one-on-one time.

A few months ago - back when the weather was MUCH warmer - my daughter's nursery teacher would call and ask if she could take A to the park for a few hours. She would willingly play whatever my daughter wanted (which half the time meant teacher was the "baby" and A was the "mommy"). You can have no possible idea how much that meant to my little girl.

But one-on-one time doesn't have to mean spending hours together doing what the child wants. My B loves to go grocery shopping with me. J loves to sit and watch me play on the computer. M loves to watch a show before going in her room at night. All of them appreciate a little chapter in a book read, or even just laying on Mom and Dad's bed to talk and joke around.

It may not seem like a big deal to us as adults, but the love given in even the smallest of acts can be more fulfilling than we could ever imagine. Children need to feel as though they are important in the lives of those who purportedly love them; more important than dishes, than computer time, than mopping the floor, than work, work, and more work. They need to see they are a priority. If you seek to spend time with with them, the closer you will be during the years they will need you most, even if they want you the least.

"In choosing how we spend time as a family, we should be careful not to exhaust our available time on things that are merely good and leave little time for that which is better or best. A friend took his young family on a series of summer vacation trips, including visits to memorable historic sites. At the end of the summer he asked his teenage son which of these good summer activities he enjoyed most. The father learned from the reply, and so did those he told of it. 'The thing I liked best this summer,' the boy replied, 'was the night you and I laid on the lawn and looked at the stars and talked.' Super family activities may be good for children, but they are not always better than one-on-one time with a loving parent" (Elder Dallin H. Oaks, "Good, Better, Best", Ensign, Nov. 2007).

While spending quality time with children is good, we also need to make certain we don't readily speed to the other end and fill all our - and their - time with activities.

"The amount of children-and-parent time absorbed in the good activities of private lessons, team sports, and other school and club activities also needs to be carefully regulated. Otherwise, children will be overscheduled, and parents will be frazzled and frustrated" (Ibid).

In other words, if you're both so busy filling your days with karate and ballet and football and violin, where will you find time to lay on the grass and look at the stars? Where will you find those little moments to really communicate if you're both too tired and frazzled to talk?

Some of the best conversations I've had with my children have been in the most unexpected places: while grocery shopping, or when they help wash dishes or make dinner, when we've finished reading and they finally want to open up about their day. I can only hope as they get into their teenage years this will be something we'll continue to do.

Children are our future leaders, teachers, caregivers, and most importantly, our future parents. Take some time out of your crazy, busy days to love a child. Not only will it help them to feel loved, you WILL find yourself feeling utterly loved in return.

1 comment:

Team Jensen said...

It's so true. One on one time is vital. We can see the difference in our Daughter when we spend that time with her. She craves it and acts out when she hasn't had enough. For her birthday we're not giving her presents, but a mommy/daddy date night where we can be together as 3 instead of more. She's counting down the days and actually, so am I!