It was hard for me to believe, but I guess I’m just naive. I was walking downtown and passed a table on the sidewalk with two parents and two children. The parents were absorbed in their devices and the two children were bored out of their skulls just sitting.
The day before I had spent an hour drive in the car with my ten year old son and we did not stop talking the entire trip. Questions, discussions, ideas and random thoughts were bounced back and forth and I was so happy and so much richer for the interaction. There was no music, podcasts or other distractions, it was just straight one on one conversation. It was awesome.
Contrast that with the couple at the table ignoring their children. There was no acknowledgement of the other people at the table, both parents were focused on the little screen in their hands as opposed to the little faces and minds across the table.
Mealtimes are a wealth of opportunity to discuss future plans, current events, their days or even just what shows you want to watch when you get home. With children, as with everything in life, you get out of them what you put in. Make the effort to be interested and engaged with them and they will be interesting and engaging.
Too often we are focused on the potential of interesting things happening far away from us, the latest celebrity gossip, the Lamebook update from some friend we haven’t seen in 5 years, or someone else showing off what a wonderful time they are having on InstaSham.
Part of mindfulness is acknowledging and accepting this moment, being here now. Enjoy those around you, the sights and sounds, the smells, and them. I learned a lot about my son on that car ride, he’s more interested in space than I had thought, and I’m so happy I did. It was more enjoyable and interesting than sitting side by side silently listening to music.