I sat down near him as he ate his dinner. Previously, he insisted he was not hungry. Here we were, one fork at a time, the food slowly vanished off his plate.
I asked about how school was doing and whether he had got a new best friend. Suddenly, I realised I did not know much about his friends, anymore. I teased him a little about girls. He timidly looked aware and feigned ignorance, while splashing his disarming dimpled smile. That smile that always blows me away.
I had not given this part of his life much attention and it dawned on me that I had done a disservice to both of us. Hitherto, I had read something by Pastor Moses Mukisa, which has stuck with me since. He made an appeal for every parent to deliberately create a ‘NO PHONE’ zone/time. He urged parents to keep the phones in another room and give undivided time to the children, once they get home.
I had just done that, dropped everything and sat down to give my child 100 per cent attention, while he had his dinner. It was not because I was unavailable initially, but this was very deliberate and the purpose was for me to be FULLY present. My total attention was on him. Listening to him with all my six senses and allowing him to just enjoy the presence of his mother. No rushing, no pressure, nothing too serious.
In this day and age where the phone is the first thing we look for, when we wake up and last we touch before we go to sleep, it is very easy to neglect things that matter in life. That’s why I had made a conscious decision that the phone will not be my start and finish, sometime back. I decided that I was much more than the phone and I did not have to live by its rules.
However, I had not realised just how critical it was to give complete attention to the children and to do it on an individual basis. Because of the simplicity around it, I had nearly missed the profound impact it carried, until the dear pastor pointed it out.
And now, I am running almost in overdrive, working to catch up on lost time Oh! The seemingly little things that make all the difference.
The other day, I saw a family having dinner and yet they were all very busy with their phones. They were together physically but emotionally absent.
What a sad reality! Only God can deliver us.