You can be there, but not be all there. A good book, television, a lengthy phone call, the internet are devices that take us away from our children. It's important that we prioritize.
Life is not an emergency and learning to slow down is an acquired skill.
For example, I was oblivious to something that was happening to one of my children. This child tried to speak to me, but I was preoccupied with cleaning and organizing the house. While driving to a softball game one day, I noticed this child became extremely anxious. I asked what was wrong and found out that he was being bullied by a bigger, stronger kid.
"Why didn't you tell me sooner," I asked. "I tried to tell you, Mom, but you were busy."
Being completely available to my children may require sacrifices, but at the end of the day what matters most is my relationship with them. I won't have their hearts or trust if I'm not fully contributing to their needs.
The house can wait. The phone calls can wait. The internet can wait. The so-called emergencies can wait too, but my children are developing quickly. They need me now.
The smile on my boy's face when I tell him I'd like to play catch is priceless. When I ask one of my girls to brush my hair and we get to talking about silly things; important things. Priceless!
It's within those treasured moments that God gives me the unique opportunity to hear and know what they are feeling and thinking. It is here, fully present, that I can guide, instruct, and train without lengthy lectures or scolding.
What areas of contribution in your children's lives have you not previously considered?