I am sure that almost everyone my age has heard the song The Cat’s in the Cradle. For the iGeneration, I will summarize: It is an artful, depressing song about a self-centered busy guy that raises an admiring son, who grows up to be a self-centered busy guy. We all know people like that, but what is easy to forget, is that, at some point we are all that guy.
Even if we don’t have responsibilities, there are times when something other than the little ones in the room have our attention. Our generation is so connected that we are flooded with information constantly. It is too easy to sneak a peek at that one last email, or glance at the phone or T.V. or whatever glass information panel you have in your home.
Not counting those distractions, when you have a lot of people in your home, it is easy to notice the loud ones and ignore the one quietly talking right next to you. I have to remind myself from time to time that I am the adult and I need to control myself, because otherwise, I am sending a really bad message to my children and my bride. That message is putting seeds into the ground and no one wants to harvest that crop.
If I am distracted, I am telling them with body language that whatever has my attention at that moment is more important than they are. So, fast forward 10 years with that kind of constant message and what kind of relationship do you think I would have with my family? What kind of people would they turn out to be?
When I interact with people, especially my family, I need to make sure that I do what I teach. Eye contact, eye contact, eye contact. When I am spending time with them, I need to get on their level and get my head in the game and focus on them and what is important to them. I need my mind to be present with my body in the conversation with the people that matter most. I need to be there when I am there.