Skip to main content

"Watch me!"

"Mom, watch me!"

"Watch me!"

"Mommmmm, watch ME NOW!"

My daughter wants my undivided attention more lately than ever before. Sometimes, I put down what I'm doing, turn to face her, smile and give her my full attention.

Sometimes, I do not.

"Just a minute, sweetie." And I continue what I'm doing. She knows I'm not going to pay attention in a minute.

She desperately wants to show me her latest cartwheel/splits/somersault invention. Or the 15th picture she drew that day. Or how she can hit her brother with a pool noodle and make him giggle.

She just wants my full attention.

And I'm torn. Because I'm addicted to my phone. My friends are there. They say funny things, they inspire me, they help Except, when the scrolling is not actually living in the moment. I continue to struggle with my relationship to my phone. Anyone else with me?

It's exhausting to be in the moment with little kids. Much of the time. They demand energy I don't have. They test patience I'm pretty sure I don't have. Keeping them alive and not whining is an unrelenting and mundane task at times.

And yet...

Sometimes it's not exhausting.

Sometimes, the clock clows to a crawl and I kneel down with a 1 year old who found a snail. We wonder and marvel and thank God for creation.

The 4 year old asks if it's time for Sudoku puzzles and apple slices. We snuggle up on the couch and enjoy our afternoon ritual that helps my work brain disengage.

They give me that sweet, giddy grin and wrap their grimy hands tightly around my neck. They stay there an extra second or two, safe and loved in mama's arms. Then they're gone in a flash.

Sometimes it's exhausting and not exhausting at the same time.

What are we to do in an overconnected, digitally saturated, overwhelming world? Our brains dart all over the place. Something is always asking for our attention. Always.

This is all I know how to do. We keep showing up and paying attention to the person in front of us. Sometimes it's my friend in Alaska who just had a baby. I listen and love her. Or it's my brother texting an update on his weekend. Or it's my daughter's 67th cartwheel. Or my son shouting, "ball, mama, ball, mama, ball, mama!" Or it's my husband asking a question about our schedule for tomorrow.

The person in front of me gets my full attention. And I've noticed in our busy world, people notice this. We can sense when we have someone's undivided attention. It's a wonderful feeling. Because it's so rare. 

My kids won't always get my full attention. I'm not sure that they should. But they'll learn their parents care and love for others too. And for ourselves. And then when we're present to, are we fully present. They get all our laughs, hugs, kisses and smiles. We remind them how deeply God loves them, how much joy they bring to us and challenge them to try things on their own.

So there you go, friends. Excuse me while I click Publish, close my laptop and turn to listen to my daughter share her observations for the 5th time in the last hour on how the cut on her hand is healing.



Most Read

Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

Why pastors need collaboration, not competition

There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…

Why I stay in the United Methodist Church

We can't ignore the numbers. The United Methodist Church is in decline. Many ask, "Why do you stay? Denominations are useless these days."

But I face that reality with overwhelming hope and excitement. I see the Holy Spirit weaving its way through our current & new leadership in ways I've only dreamed of. A couple years ago, I thought about leaving. But I decided to ask some hard questions about why we're in decline. And that journey to the heart of the United Methodist movement has lit a fire in me to see it renewed.

Why I Stay...

1. Our faith is active. We get our hands and hearts dirty in service & relationships.
2. Every United Methodist church is connected through a network of gatherings, prayer, service, money, agencies and leadership. I would never want to serve in building God's kingdom by myself.
3. I see God changing hearts and lives every. single. day.
4. I am fascinated by our founder who's only intention was to create a renewal movement ins…