Just an FYI this site will be going down for maintenance in the next couple of hours. Should be up by tomorrow. I apologize for any incovenience.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Be Attentive

Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Last week I talked about the importance of Listening and Hearing your family. Today I wanted to stress the importance of being Attentive. It does no good to Hear your family if there is no action following. Think what would happen if all our complaints and suggestions that we make on a weekly basis went without response? Would we be happy or upset?

This same thing applies at home. Between parents and kids, this means that we should pay attention to things that may be bothering our kids. They are under very unique pressures while they are in school and also at home as we deal with the the hiccups that life sends us. For while we all try to keep the problems and stresses of running a family from our children, they tend to be very accurate barometers of tension. So if we are stressed they will feel it and suffer because of it. Now this does not make us bad parents as long as we see it and respond with the Attentiveness that it deserves.

In my house I have started, with my oldest daughter primarily, an open door policy. She is allowed to talk to me about anything without fear of getting yelled at or from getting into to much trouble. This policy was started a few years back when we were struggling financially. One night my daughter became visibly upset for no obvious reason. With some coaxing, I managed to get out of her that she was worried since her birthday was the next month, that she wasn't going to be able to get a birthday party or presents. Now if I had not been paying attention to her non-verbal cues (Listening) and had not been Attentive and tried to uncover the problems then she would have continued to be upset beneath the surface. Because of that conversation and subsequent ones where I have stressed the open door policy, my relationship with my daughter has grown and improved immensely.

This open door policy should be extended to the adults as well, with the promise to work on those things that bother the others. For if we argue or get on each other's nerves then how can we hope to be a strong and united family?

Now do not think I am saying that we should change to suit our partner(s) or they for us. Rather I am saying that we should be Attentive to the needs of our partner(s) and be willing to meet them halfway. Also this is not, or should not, just be about complaints. Being attentive should include things like knowing what special things that we can buy or do that makes our family members happy. In my house my wife has a candy that she enjoys immensely, so on occasion I buy her a bag for no reason other then that I love her. Not that we can buy love but rather love should spawn the desire to give gifts.

Being Attentive goes far beyond just seeing to the physical needs and wants of our family. It applies on many levels and in many important parts of our lives and relationships. We should make our focus in our relationships upon improving them in every way we can.

As I write this I am reminded of an old Zen saying, "When walking, walk. When eating, eat." Oftentimes the most important and most treasured gift that we can give to our family is the courtesy of paying attention when they talk. When was the last time you have just simply Listened and payed attention to those who are important to you?

So as we continue with the exercises of yesterday on actively Listening to our family, lets add a part to that. Work on being Attentive as well. Listen to them with all your attention and respond with as much attention as you feel that you deserve. See if you can find things that you are missing in your conversations and relationships.

Blessed Be!

Like What You See So Far? Sign up for email updates and receive my free ebook!