I’ll set the tone for you.
You are busy working. Cooking. Watching TV. On the phone.
Your child is calling your name. Mindlessly, you say wait a minute and then you never revisit the conversation your child was so anxiously trying to have. Why? Because you were emotionally unavailable. Emotionally unavailable does not mean showing emotions in this example, however, it is about adhering to the emotions of others when they need you. This is not just something we do with our children, but we do it with our spouses. We have become a culture of emotionally unavailable people, and we feel that what we are doing is much more important than any questions, or calls for affection that our loved one could be requesting.
I was listening to Simon T. Bailey speak and he recalled a moment when he recognized he was being emotionally unavailable to his daughter. Listening to him was a true revelation because I am guilty of it sometimes and I know others are as well.
We have to get into the habit of allowing ourselves to be emotionally available to those we love. We don’t even ask one another about our day as a means to be intentional, instead we do it as if we are reciting a greeting. Sadly, thereafter, we are not even completely listening to what the person is saying. Being emotionally available as parents is very important. Our children are calling on us because they need us. Kids need our undivided attention, even if it is to ask us where their socks are. We have to be mindful that we need to listen and take action.
So, the next time your child calls on you, if you need to take a moment until you can reply, that’s fine, just be intentional about following up with them. As Bailey shared, We give people the best of us, and we give those we love the rest of us. Let's stop giving our children and spouses our leftovers and give them the main course. Make a decision to be intentional about relationships, not just the ones with friends but also the ones in your home.