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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The One Thing My Kids Needed

My children have always wanted the same thing from me -- As I look back over the years, I realize this gift was more important than any tangible gift and more precious than gold.

Each child wanted some of my time and attention to be focused on her/him, even if it was only for a car ride to an event, a bedtime story, a bathroom conversation, or just quiet time doing homework together.

Time with me was highly prized. Time is the best gift that we can give to our children. Spending time with our children lets them know that they are important to us, that is, important enough for us to pause from our daily activities and tend to their needs.

Spending time with infants is easy for most of us because we understand that little ones need a lot of time and attention as they grow. But as children grow, they still need our time and attention. Yes, our children develop skills that allow them to have more independence and freedom, but with that independence and freedom come the need to share and process events and activities in their lives. Our children need to have our listening ears and thoughtful responses to help them make sense of their world.

As our children age, they need more of our time. Tweens, teens and young adults need time to communicate more effectively with us. They need to know that we are paying attention and listening to their concerns and are willing to help them solve their problems. And they need to know when we are pleased with them as well as when we are willing to set limits because of our displeasure. All of this is communicated to our children through the time that we spend with them.

One year my daughter’s senior band concert time conflicted with the time of a class that I was taking. When giving the professor advance notice of my absence, he questioned my commitment to the program. I assured him that I was indeed committed to the program. I also told him that I have the rest of my life to pursue college degrees, but I only get one chance to rear my children. My daughter needed my time, and I was there for her.

Veda McClain


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