Google “How to Raise Happy Kids” and you’ll get 28,500,000 search results.
Everyone’s got an opinion on this one, but I’m not going to bore you with mine.
Most lists are pretty consistent: affirm them, set structure and limits for them, allow them opportunities for mastery, pretend and play with them, yada – yada –yada.
I do a pretty good job at that stuff. Not the best, but pretty good.
One thing I found on a list that struck home for me was something I suck at: Being There. I am the king of multi-tasking. I’m never fully anywhere. Anybody else ever feel this way? Anybody else never There?
I can’t even take the dogs for a walk without also listening to a book from Audible. Beth and I sit at opposite ends of couch in the evenings, half watching TV, half noses buried in our iPads. I help the kids with their homework while cooking supper. I cook and write and surf the web while talking with the kids. I’m doing it now. I’m writing from the Big Chair (what we call it), half talking to Beth on the couch, and maybe a third watching Law & Order SVU.
I try and rationalize it to myself that one person can’t do all the things I do in the run of a day by doing them one-at-a-time. That’s a lame excuse, though.
Some things are more important than others. My kids are three of those things. I’ve vowed, and am making progress in, doing better with Being There.
Beth’s agreed that this website should take time away from her, not the kids. I’m doing the majority of my writing at night or on my lunch break. I’m trying to drop the “In a minute” from my lexicon. I try not to say “uh-huh” any more, unless I’m very clear on what I’m agreeing to.
Do we, as a society, live in the present anymore? Hasn’t it become commonplace to see people talking on their cell phones while at store registers? Isn’t texting while driving an epidemic? When did we get all “in a hurry” and stop taking things day by day, moment by moment?
For me, it ends now. I’m really trying to do better – my kids are worth it.