For the longest time I was busy. Too busy to finish the things that I started. My desk is chronically covered with papers, notes, receipts, magazine clippings, coupons, to-dos, mail, and other things for me to “get around to.” So in the middle of working through whatever task I’m involved in, there’s nothing like a child to come and disrupt your train of thought with such pressing matters as:
“Mommy, my doll’s car door broke and I can’t get it back on.”
“Can you help me put on my doll’s new dress?”
“Can I go to ____________’s house? PLEEEEEEASE?
“LOOK! LOOK! Hurry, you gotta see this _________ on TV quick! I want it!”
What my daughter feels she needs at moments like these is my undivided attention. What I feel I need at these moments is uninterrupted quiet time to read or concentrate on what I’m doing (yeah right!). But which is more important? The things she wants to tell me or show me are important to her, and the task I’m attending to is important to me.
Something I recently learned and internalized is how to balance rules with relationship. Once I started being a little more patient, learning to stop what I’m doing (even if just briefly) at a good stopping point where I can later continue where I left off, to give her more time. It’s usually not much to me, but it means a lot to her. Once I started giving her more attention, even if it’s just for a hug or a high-five, I noticed that she has been acting out less. There’s been less talking back, less disobedience, and no tantrums to speak of! No child is a perfect angel, but I when I stopped treating her requests like inconvenient chores (which some of them still are, but I act differently now), I stopped having to correct or discipline her as much.
Now what does any of this have to do with religion? I’m getting there.