Taking time to “See” our Children

Aug 5, 2015

Daily I struggle with focusing on my family and really paying attention to them.  I get so caught up in working, cleaning, and just doing that I forget to be a student of my children. This past Monday while I made my weekly round of my gardens checking on their health, God spoke to me about the importance of doing the same with my family members. Do I really study them on a regular basis to see how they are doing? Do I make sure they are thriving and not just surviving? Truthfully, I don’t.

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Usually I see them for a few minutes as we eat breakfast together and do our daily devotional, going through the motions but not really seeing them. We work together as we do chores, rushing through them to get on to something better. Then later in the day, I might see them in passing as they go by my office door or stop to ask for a snack or drink. We might spend a few minutes together in the afternoon if there’s time between activities and supper, and then it’s off to bed with rushed stories, prayers, and bedtime hugs.  This is usually the way it is, but not the way I want it to be.

As I read the book Hands Free Mama, I’m reminded that quality time doesn’t always mean a huge chunk. Sometimes it just means moving my gaze from staring out the window during breakfast mentally reviewing my to-do list to looking my children in the eyes as they explain their latest invention. It can mean smiling and relaxing while we do chores together instead of racing through them and trying to get everything “right.” Mainly, it means being fully present in the moment.

Sometimes quality time can mean big chunks of time. Lately through friends on Facebook and my Bible reading, I’ve been convicted about the importance of the Sabbath day rest. After one of my friend’s Father died this past month, she posted that she always remembered him taking Saturdays to spend with the family, even though he was a busy preacher. Then as I read through Exodus this spring, I was reminded of how the Sabbath day is the only one of the 10 Commandments we don’t really keep anymore. However, rest must be truly important if God even commanded the land to be given rest (Lev. 25:3-5) and He himself took time to rest (Gen. 2:2-3).

So this past Sunday, I tried hard to take time to rest. Not just take a nap, though that was part of it, but to put aside the to-do list and the phone and really spend time with my family. It was hard at first. I had to overlook that the house needed straightened, and at first it felt like I was “watching” myself playing with my kids instead of really joining in the fun. As I marched with Liam around the house in a marching band and then built a tree house with Lincoln Logs, I found it easier to really play and rest.

This extended time with my family gave me the chance to really see them and learn more about them as we played together and just enjoyed each other. I saw Luke’s eyes sparkle in the sunlight, and Liam’s excitement over the frog he caught. I saw Ethan’s joy in a tickle fight, and his excitement over the Lego creation he had built. These are moments I would have missed had I been doing my usual Sunday survive and veg (if I got the chance) routine.

These moments are precious but there is so much more to them. If we constantly rush through our days and don’t really see our kids, that’s the picture they’ll have of God, too. They may grow up to think God also doesn’t have the time for them and is uninterested in them. Teaching our children about God and His word is extremely important, but until they see a clear picture of God in us, they will not believe His word. Now we don’t have to be perfect. We can’t be. However, we do need to be aware of the picture we give them of God.

As we go through this week, let’s commit to each other to stop surviving and rushing through our days. Let’s take time to be in the moment and see those around us as we go throughout our day. This doesn’t mean changing up our whole day, though it could, but instead just slowing down a notch or two and being in the moment. Today let’s be there and really see our families and those around us.

When you took time to slow down today, what moments did you see that you might have missed?


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