Pay Attention There is a lot going on.

My wife and I were in a Dairy Queen one hot Kentucky Sunday in June having ice cream. It was busy. We were in a booth near the counter and a dad walked up to place his order for the four kids with him. One was probably his and the rest neighbors or teammates.

This good dad was trying to figure out the menu, what to offer the kids, how to say “no” to banana splits while convincing them of another choice. Lots of confusion as these ten year olds were jumping and pointing and pulling.

Amid all this confusion, one boy sees the ice cream cakes displayed in the brightly lighted case. He points to the cakes and says, “Hey Dad look at these! We should get you this for Father’s Day!”

Regrettably, this dad was too busy to hear this and continued on course to place his order. Mary Jane and I have told this story many times. This enterprising kid was trying to get an ice cream cake into his house by “treating” his dad to it for Father’s Day. Very cute.

Now I am not in any way criticizing this dad for not paying attention to this request. But I know that if it registered at all in his consciousness, it would bring him a smile. And what a joy it would have been to the family, if on Father’s Day this dad showed up with an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen!  That kid would have been so proud and would feel so important.

All this is to say, that no matter how distracted you may be, or busy and hassled, try to hear and notice what is going on with your kids. Look for the little gems that are dropped each day, and let them know you hear them and you care.

Finally, please do not take away from this that I am suggesting that you spoil your kids! No. Never. What I am saying is that your little ones are always reaching out to you for attention and respect. Try to always find ways to make sure they get it.

2 thoughts on “Pay Attention There is a lot going on.

  1. Vito Mussomeli

    Of the heartbreaking moments I’ve experienced with my children, these you write about where the child has reached out and I did not hear or was too distracted are the hardest to bear. It happens even with 20 and 30 and 40 year old “kids” … because parenting is a long story for each of us and only ends, if it does, when all of us have left this world.

    I’ve tried whenever I caught myself missing one of these moments to bring the moment back by “bringing home the food” or “getting the article for the dining table” or “changing the furniture around” or “planting the flowers in the garden” to let the child know I heard, maybe late, but I heard. (Whether the furniture stays changed depends on the discussion the child and myself have about their idea).

    As a grandparent, if I see one my children has missed what their children said, I make certain to bring it up to them. Including their spouse (who may not like me … but who cares? It’s the child that is important).

  2. mlhjgh1949

    We need to admit to our children that everyone needs to be heard. Fathers need to have grandma’s ear the way kids need to capture their father’s attention. At the end of the day, we need to be grateful for everyone who heard us, and for each time we really listened to someone else. Every human needs to be seen, and heard. Somehow, our lives are validated when they are witnessed.


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