The foundation for me as a parent lies in connection. When I am connected to my kids, things flow. When I am connected to my center, my soul, I make good choices—and the panic I sometimes feel in stressful situations lifts.
In a world where we are so plugged into our phones our computers our internet, I struggle with how our kids will learn to navigate all of this.
Then I pause and I think—how am I navigating this?
It seems like everyday I see new articles about how our culture has evolved and changed, and how this change affects our relationships with one another. The generations which never had the Internet or smartphones shake their heads at us, reminding us that back in their day, people ate dinner together and actually talked to one another. Houses are much bigger now and families of four or five can spend an entire day under one roof and never see each other. In this world of super-connectivity, it seems as though we are more disconnected than ever.
There are dozens of things running through my head at any given moment. My mind is cluttered with the things that I cannot see in front of me, yet they still beg for my attention. It’s a choice—and one that takes a lot of practice—to be present in each moment. To find the focus which allows me to really see, to really listen, to really feel. How would I feel when I choose to be fully present and connected? Not only that, but how would the people in my life feel? How would the woman on the street feel if I made eye contact and smiled instead of turning my head the other way? How would my children react if they truly felt that they had my undivided attention and knew I was seeing the light in their eyes as they told me about their day? How would my friends feel if, while we were on the phone, I wasn’t distracted by the ton of emails sitting before me on the computer?
I often wonder how this might affect my children and how they might grow to understand what real connection is about. And really, there are so many different levels to connection. There is the connection to ourselves: what our bodies are doing and feeling and telling us that they want and need. There is the connection to others: the strangers we pass on the street, the family members we see every day, our friends. There is the connection to the objects around us: Earth and its air and dirt and trees, our homes, the things we lovingly collect and cherish. I suppose what is really at question here is how I am choosing to connect with the pieces that make up my life.
This week, I want to seek out that connection. I want to find ways to strengthen ties I already have, and maybe even forge new ones.
And you? How can you be more present and connected in your life this week?