I was at Brand Mastery Expo, a two-day entrepreneurship event last weekend. Not only was I inspired by the entrepreneurs’ success stories and gleaned some insights from their journey, to my surprise, I went away with some very timely and important reminders about parenting.
This has been an issue I struggled with for a while. My preoccupation? The smartphone. Every time it signaled a new email has come in or someone has posted something on Facebook, I would pick it up and check.
One day, my two-and-a-half year-old son suddenly said to me, “Mommy, put your handphone down!” He was obviously frustrated, after failing to get my attention for something.
I was take aback.
It made me realised how much my being distracted must have affected him. So I consciously tried to minimize the use of the phone, but after a week or two, I was back to my old ways.
Last week, I came across this post (on Facebook I think) and the message hit me hard (it even made me ‘frantically’ shared it around).
Obviously God didn’t think that was enough.
So last Saturday, there I was sitting in the auditorium at the Brand Mastery Expo, listening to one of the speakers, Eric Feng shared some great ideas about creating a memorable presentation.
Then he went on to talk about how to have presence when you walk into a room.
Guess what was the first tip?
Start being present to your surroundings; feel your breathing and your feet on the ground.
Then he related a story about what he witnessed while on a holiday. He was at the beach and saw the interactions of a family – both the parents were busy on their gadgets. Their son approached the mom and wanted to show her something, she asked him to go to the dad, the dad then told the boy to go back to his mom. This went back and forth a few times and the boy was disappointed.
What is the message you’re sending your child?
What Eric said next left a deep impression on me.
He said, “The child will grow up thinking that he isn’t important.”
I’m not sure what made him said that, it didn’t seem necessary as after all, we were at a conference about entrepreneurship, not parenting.
But it was something I needed to hear.
No, I definitely don’t want my son to grow up feeling that he wasn’t important. I definitely don’t want him to think that a smartphone is more important than he is.
What I want is for him to grow up feeling that he is dearly loved, and he deserves daddy and mommy’s time.
I want him to know that I’m available for him, and that’s why I made the choice to be a work-at-home mom. A decision I made long before he was even born.
I’m thankful for the wake up calls and they couldn’t have come at a better time.
Half a year’s gone and if you, like me, have not taken stock of the past six months (or seven to be exact), now’s a good time to do so.
To be honest, when I look at my list of goals for 2012, there isn’t anything I’ve made about parenting. I took for granted that it will just happen. And I suspect many parents are like that too.
We kind of know what values we want to inculcate in our children, what parenting style we want to adopt, or what sort of parents we want to be.
But until we put it down on paper, they will only remain as vague ideas in our minds.
Once we write down our goals, we will have a clear idea of where we are going and the goals will act as light posts to guide us to our destination. They will let us know if we are veering off track. They give us a reason in the midst of our hectic lives to sit down and reflect.
For me, I’ll focus on one parenting goal for the rest of the year:
To spend at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with my son every day. It doesn’t matter if we are playing or reading together, what’s important is that my son gets my undivided attention during that time.
Do you set goals as parents? What are some of your parenting goals for this year?