Last month my husband and I took our family on our first real family vacation. The logistics made us sound crazy to some but the reality was a fantastic time of refueling and refreshment. We had such a great time away and praise God for that gift to us. But as I thought about vacations -- and how long we've wanted to take one but haven't been able -- I thought back to some of my favorite memories as a kid. Though there were a few "big" memories, most of my favorite memories were in the everyday rhythm and routine of living -- lazy summers spent at my grandparent’s pool, catching fireflies in the evening, camping out in the backyard -- those things that don’t require a lot of time or money or even effort. Yet now as a parent, it's easy to forget how powerful those everyday memories can be.
As school ends and summer arrives, I want to encourage all of us to plan little moments with the kids. Sure throw some big memories in there, too, but don’t underestimate the power of being present.
I recently attended a conference and heard Dr. Jim Burns and Doug Fields share about a Harvard University study stating that "the number one contributing factor to anger, rage, and hostility in kids is perceived inaccessibility of one or both parents."
Sobering isn't it? One of the things that struck me about this finding is that the inaccessibility is perceived. My mind raced to all of the times I've been thoroughly distracted by a book, my smart phone, or the television. All of my "ang on a minute's" and "mmmmhhhhmmmms" while I'm really not paying any attention came racing back to my mind, and of course I rushed home and shared my angst about this finding with my husband!
This certainly isn't a post to heap any more guilt onto the shortcomings we already feel so strongly as parents. Rather, I hope it is a gentle reminder that our presence and our attention and even our simplicity matters!
While vacations are wonderful, vacations aren't what sew the fabric of our families together -- it's the everyday moments that do.
[Read the rest of the article at For the Family.]