Sunday, June 12, 2016

Hands Free Mama - Connectedness - Part 2 of 12

“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.  When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Welcome to part 2 of my 12 part blog series.  Feel free to read the post or watch the video below where I read it to you.  The content is the same in both the writing and video except where my husband distracts me.  haha!  So pick your preference.  

Welcome back to my blog series where I am sharing some valuable things I’ve learned from an amazing book by Rachel Macy Stafford called “Hands Free Mama”.  Today I’m sharing from chapter two:  “Make Purposeful Connection – Connectedness”

Last week {read here} I shared how I’ve been convicted lately and some ways I’m trying to be more intentional in connecting with my family.  When I’m living with this intention I’m absolutely more content and happy.  I feel less distracted and more present.  I smile more!  I love this quote:
“When you take time each day to grasp what really matters, distractions of the digital age cannot sabotage your relationships, your dreams, your memories, or your pursuit of a present and joy-filled life. {p.36}
That’s right! I am not just letting the days pass in survival mode; I am enjoying life more!  And I dare say, my family is enjoying me more too.

Would you be brave enough to ask your kids how you could be a better Mom to them?  Can you imagine their response?  This is exactly what Rachel suggests doing!  She started a journal that is passed between herself and her kids.  I think this is a great idea if you don’t have talkers or if your kids might be intimidated to give you feedback.  She asked her kids for constructive criticism.
“The truth hurts, but the truth heals – and brings me closer to the person I aspire to be.” {p.38}
My kids already say that I am on my cell phone and computer too much.  Although I limit my technology time and try to use as a tool and not for entertainment, my nose is still online far too often.  Even with KNOWING this truth, I still don’t always make wise decisions.  That is something I need to work on a little more this week, especially since the kids will be on summer break!  Just look at my face when I'm zoned out.  Not so friendly looking!  
“living Hands Free is not about being perfect; nor is it about being hyperfocused on the people I love.  It is simply about making a conscious effort each and every day to connect.” {p.39}
Rachel says to tell the kids that you’re trying to change.  Kids are REALLY good at keeping us in check!  In fact, my kids love telling me I’m wrong!  Ha!  So they are the best support in all this!  I'm scared to do this but I will.  I will tell my kids that I won't be on the phone at all between supper and bedtime.  I am going to start there and then figure out boundaries for other times of day when they're on their summer break.
“Is whatever you’re doing on the phone really more important than the human being at your table?” {p.43}
This doesn’t apply to only the kids but to marriage too!  I know that when I ask my husband how his day was I often half listen.  Partly out of boredom if he goes on and on sharing details of things I’m not familiar with or interested in {haha – being honest!} but mostly out of rudeness.  I am not giving him the full attention I often demand from him!  Oopsie.  Talk about convicting!
“I realized I need to continually evaluate whether my wi-fi connection is taking precedence over my marriage connection.” {p.45}
I hate when my husband is on his gadget in the car.  He always calls shotgun!  Anyway… when I tell him how I feel, he has replied many times that if I want to talk, he’ll listen.  But the problem with having his nose in a gadget is that he'll never INITIATE the conversation.  

Likewise, hanging out at home, both in our gadgets... no one will start talking because we're both entertained.  This has been a problem in my marriage for far too long.  There are days when we literally don’t talk about much.  This is dangerous because a distance WILL grow if we don’t nip it now.  I love that Rachel brought all these issues to the surface so I can be aware and intentional with my man!  After all, when the kids are grown, it'll just be the two of us again, Lord willing.  And I genuinely like the guy!  xoxo

Going back to the car, Rachel talks about driving in the car with your family and how so many families are each doing their own thing.  Kids with movies and/or headsets; parents with music or podcasts.  Nevermind parents who text or talk which can be dangerous!  She outlines so many ideas of how to initiate conversations with your kids in the car so you can use that time to connect.  I love how this book gives such practical advice!   
Rachel says:
“I am simply the messenger on this Hands Free journey, and it is by the grace of God and four little carpool girls that I have this message to give. If zoning out, being on autopilot, or popping in a DVD have become part of your drive-time ritual – consider this tragedy: * conversations that will never happen * concerns on your child’s heart and mind you will never hear * smiles in the rearview mirror you will never see” {p.49}

I've been working on this one awhile and it’s been hard to make this change in the car.  The kids fight more without the movies.  They talk over each other and interrupt.  Sadly this just shows me that I haven’t been so good at training and guiding them to be polite so we are actively working on conversation manners.

I realize as I type this, many people might not connect with my words or even care about these issues.  If you feel at all disconnected with your family then please check it out.  I highly recommend this book because I’m sure there are other points that Rachel brings up that might apply to you better than my personal take away.  {Here is a great post} from Rachel that I found to share with you after reading it in her book.  It offers incredible perspective of what we could miss out on because we know time flies!

I also liked this poem which called “The Inner Dialogue of a Child” which hit really close to home and made my heart weepy for my kids.  I want to be better for them!  And it made me weepy for all the kids growing up utterly neglected because of “helpful” technology.  Oh if we could all wake up!  I pray the changes I make are lasting too!

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1 comment:

Amber L. said...

Loved this Mary! Such a huge issue. We have been purposely limiting screen time with our kids and I am working on limiting my time, even though it's mostly to research and find suggestions for Joshua, it still takes a lot of my attention away from the kids. It's tough to find a good balance but we will get there. Thanks for writing your heart!