Posted by: angiefm | October 27, 2009

Being Present

Here I am at the start of a school session.  I have put Daniel down for his nap, we have read the Bible and prayed, the children have started their work and while I really should be there at the dining table with them, helping them to stay on task, pointing out errors in their handwriting during copywork, or mistakes in their reading, helping them to understand their math problems, etc, I really want to be somewhere else.

So it is appropriate that I am sitting at my laptop now and blogging about a frequent problem.  Being PRESENT.

We are such busy busy people.  Whether we work full-time outside the home or in it, we are mothers, daughters, wives, daughters-in-law, cousins friends, confidantes, Sunday School teachers, choir members, students, teachers … the list goes on.  And I don’t know about you, but sometimes I am overwhelmed by the myriad roles I play and the responsibilities that come with each.  And I struggle to stay PRESENT in each role when I am performing the functions of that role. 

And worse of all, my children see right through me.  While I’m sitting at school with them, I’m busy sending sms-es to people about their requests or running off to the computer to check if I remembered to send off my order, or sitting down to write cheques to pay my bills, or … and they know.  They know their mother is there in body by not fully PRESENT.

But the thing that really makes me feel guilty is when friends come over, I am fully present with THEM!  😦  So why do we treat outsiders better than “insiders”?  And I know that when my mind is flitting from thing to thing, that I am really wasting more time than is necessary.

I know some people who don’t seem to have my problem of being SCATTERED.  I have a relative who lives such a compartmentalised life that he will not answer your personal sms-es at work and will not take work calls at home or on the weekends.  I met a trainer once who was so PRESENT that when you were speaking to him you really felt he didn’t have anything else in the world to do except to sit there and listen to you.  🙂  I want to give my children the gift of both my time AND my attention.  I don’t know the answer to this problem.  But I know I really need to try harder.

Ah … I hear Daniel waking up and need to go to him.  Maybe I’ll put him in my sarong then hover around the dining table while the children school and try really hard today to be PRESENT.

May you be PRESENT with your husband and your children today also!

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Responses

  1. Wow. This rings too true for me to read it comfortably… I don’t think it’s so much about trying harder, but about doing less–about simplifying. Therein lies the mystery and the challenge!

    Here’s a link to a sermon I listened to recently that addresses part of this issue:
    http://www.cornerstonesimi.com/special/media_player.html
    Listen to the sermon on 10/04/09 by Francis Chan on Slowing Down and Showing Grace.

  2. Angie, that happens to me too… sometimes my mind is so occuppied with housework, grocery shopping etc etc that I cannot concentrate on my kids anymore. I’ll hurry them through their schedule so that I can do the housework. And I get impatient with them or I lose my temper. It’s really tough sometimes. I always tell myself that the kids are more important than the housework but yah, it’s not always easy. Will have to work on that.
    Hope we’ll all be better at being PRESENT!

  3. your post struck a chord in me. i am always bz online on my pdafone…sms’ing, emailing or just twitter’ing.. there was once when my 4yo said that she would always find me sms’ing on the fone. i really shud be PRESENT. thx for sharing. 🙂

  4. Thanks for that Angie, i’m not a homeschooler but i certainly know exactly what you mean about being present .

    And thanks for that link Heather ! Hope to hook up to …but will try not to nudge my kids aside trying to do so : )

  5. aiyo… just what I’ve been feeling lately. You have put words to my feelings. Sigh.. I think I should turn off the computer when they are doing school, then less temptation to check emails!!!

  6. I was thinking about this for the past few weeks, too, especially when reflecting on my role, etc, and especially so when breaking out on the kids when all they want is really my presence.

    Thanks for voicing it out.

    What I do try to do is really cut off emailing/computer time/sms time esp when around the kids or anyone (if all that possible). Hard to achieve but it is also basic courtesy which we so sorely lack!

    And believe me, my lack of presence with the kids is even showing up on their behaviour, especially when they are with us and I have this ‘horror’ image of them doing the same thing to me later on in the years and this image sticks and reminds me to BE THERE!


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