I know I get on my soapbox sometimes about stuff that I can really only speculate about and I also understand that all children are different, as are their parents and living situation. I do believe however that some things are universal, like the fact that kids need attention.
I love to watch the interaction of parents and their kids and one thing I can say for certain is how kids absolutely shine when their parents give them their full, undivided attention.
I was in a coffee shop the other day when a small boy of about 5 years old came in with his Dad. Granted that I don’t know the full circumstance of this duo only that they are Father and Son and they are out together alone.
They both sat down and ordered and the boy was telling his Dad some kind of story and Dad was giving the little guy his full attention.
The body language was amazing. They were sitting opposite each other and the boy was carefully describing something, using enthusiastic hand gestures and animated facial expressions.
Every now and then he would steal a look up to see that Dad was still paying attention whereby he would get another burst of enthusiasm to help him continue on. At the end of the telling they both looked at each other and laughed and it was a lovely moment. (Yes, I know that I am soft!)
Anyhow they continued talking and not long after as the boy was talking Dad’s phone rang. Without saying anything to his son the father answered it. I could not only see the disappointment on the kids face but I saw him physically slump in his chair.
As the phone conversation went on longer and longer the boy looked more and more upset. The boy even tried to get his Dad’s attention on a couple of occasions but was totally ignored. Dad did not even look at him once through the entire conversation.
When the phone call was over there was a completely different atmosphere between the two of them. The boy seemed a little cool and sulky toward Dad.
They finished their drinks in stilted conversation, paid the bill and then left with the boy dragging his feet. Dad had a look on his face as if to say “Why is my kid acting like a turd?”
I know that there are a hell of a lot of presumptions on my behalf as I can’t possibly know all that I claim to have gleaned from the observations of these two people. My heart however tells me that this kid is upset because he thinks that his Dad’s phone is more important to him than he is.
Looking at it as an outsider I would have to say that the kid appears to have a point. It can be justified in many ways but the at the end of the day the child knows that he can’t interrupt the phone conversation but the phone can interrupt him.
Statistics show that the average father spends less than one hour per day alone with their child. Only one hour! If that is the case then surely we can give these flowering little souls the sunshine and fertilizer that our full attention provides for that small amount of time.
Is that phone call really more important…?