By: Deidre Littlefield
My oldest son is twenty-three. I have the fondest memories of sitting in the sandbox with him for hours. We would build and laugh while looking into each other’s eyes. As he grew, we threw the baseball and rode bikes together. We were not once interrupted by a phone call, email or a text. I was completely present. The reward has been an undeniable, unbreakable connection to him.
Today, I would likely be sitting outside of the sandbox, worried that my phone will drop and get dirty. I am happy to help my youngest son when he asks and always respond to him, but it’s different. I’m not lost in his world with him. I’m there physically but responding to work emails or texting unnecessarily with my friends. I am lucky enough to have that age gap so I have the foresight to know I must deeply connect with him, so we can navigate the teenage years and beyond.
The world we have created is so busy. We run our children from one activity to the next, after working all day. We rush them home to do hours of homework and off to bed they go. There is no quiet time, no time to just let conversation flow. We are disconnected from each other, nature and God. Kids need something bigger than themselves to look up to. There is a void in today’s generation, and they are trying to fill it externally. So many young people are experimenting with drugs and becoming addicted. I believe we are all trying to fill a hole. I think it’s a real, deep connection to this earth and each other that’s missing.
We must connect purposely with our children, in today’s busy world. Just like every other activity, it should be carved intentionally into our day. Our kids need us to immerse ourselves into their world and listen. That’s intimacy, that’s how they learn to trust us and therefore themselves. They will face adversity growing up and need to know everything they need is right inside of them.