It has become a common occurrence for readers to send me messages like the one I recently received from a disheartened mother after dropping off her child at school.
This is what she wrote:
Today I happened to be second in carpool line. In front of me there was a mother playing on her phone as the child watched. While my child and I talked about different kid things like “Monster Jam” and other silly stuff, there were no verbal exchanges between the parent and child in the car in front of us. While my child and I hugged several times before he got out of the car, this parent did not even notice the teacher waiting to escort her child out the car. Needless to say, there was no hug and no good-bye for this child.
I am not perfect, but my experiences with children as a play therapist have given me an understanding about the importance of being a “Hands Free” parent.
And even though I feel like I have lived “Hands Free” since my first child was born, I still ask myself, “What could I improve on?”
Your blog serves as a reminder to everyone, those who have been living Hands Free a long time and those who do not know what it means.
I was very intrigued from this mother’s comment because I often wonder what readers gain from reading my blog. I also wonder what types of people will find value in my writing. Through her comment, this mother indicated that my messages about letting go of distraction are useful for the Hands Free, the Semi-Hands Free, and the Non-Hands Free.
And the honest truth is that at times, I fall into all of the above categories.
While it is true that the fast paced electronic communication overloaded world in which I live fuels my distraction, I must accept responsibility.
It is I who makes the choice on where to place my focus when my children and spouse are present. And sadly, I don’t always make the “right” choice.
But as I have said many times, the beauty of going Hands Free is that it not about what happened yesterday. It is about today. It is about the critical choices that I make today.
And just as this concerned mother in the carpool line shared, we all need reminders. Even the most lovingly present Hands Free Mamas I am blessed to know need reminders.
That gives me hope. That gives me comfort. That gives me a chance.
So now I ask myself what would be the BEST reminder?
Without a doubt my children are my best reminder. Their words are my best reminder. Their thoughts are my best reminder. Their faces are my best reminder. They memories, their happiness, their precious, fragile, impressionable lives are my best reminder.
So with that in mind, I have created the best reminder that this Hands Free messenger knows how to create; it is the reason I have been placed on this earth. I have written a poem in which I have weighed every word as I write in order to produce the greatest impact possible. And regardless of where you are on the Hands Free spectrum, may it serve as a reminder to you, too.I Have Noticed: The Inner Dialogue of A Child
It’s what you check as soon as you get up in the morning. And what you check before going to bed.
It’s what you talk to for hours on end. And what you listen to no matter what.
It’s what you choose to do when you have nothing to do. And what you choose when you have everything to do.
It’s what you never leave home without. And what you always keep close at hand.
It’s what you are looking at when you smile. And what you are looking at when you laugh.
It’s what serves as your favorite dinner companion. And what serves as your favorite travel mate.
It’s what you can’t imagine life without. And what you can’t dream of not having by your side.
It’s what holds your attention. It’s what illuminates your world. It’s what stops you in the middle of any task. It’s what takes precedence over anything else.
I wish it was me. Oh, how I wish it was me.
But I have noticed that it is not.
The center of your universe is not me.
I can’t even compete; I don’t seem to have a chance.
No matter how much I smile or how clever I am,
Regardless of how beautifully I draw or dance for you,
No matter how many times I say, “I love you” or hug you tight,
I can’t even compete; I don’t seem to have a chance.
Someday I might give up, but for now I will keep trying
To be the center of your universe.
I have printed this reminder and taped it to my bathroom mirror. I start my day by reading these words.
And with it, I am reminded that every time I chose distraction over the living, breathing, human being who stands before me, it does not go unnoticed.
There is a longing set of eyes that notices.
There is a hopeful heart that notices.
There is a wishful soul that notices.
I have a choice. Thank God, I have a choice.
Let today be the day that I choose who really matters over distraction.
I guarantee someone will notice.
And perhaps parents that choose to be texting or talking on the phone with their child at the park, the museum, a restaurant, or in the carpool line will notice, too.
The Hands Free Revolution has begun. Thank you for noticing.
Regardless if you are Hands Free, Semi Hands Free or Non-Hands Free, each day you are presented with a choice to choose a living human being over distraction. What do you typically choose? How will you choose today? Please help spread this critical message by clicking the “share” button below. Be the reason that a precious child with a hopeful heart is placed first today instead of last.