We are all guilty of giving our phones attention over our children at times. Sometimes it’s through necessity, sometimes for our sanity and other times it’s just habit.
But a note from a stranger, shared by a dad, has gone viral as it offers a fresh take on how important it is that we find time to give our children our undivided attention.
We’ve shared revelations from mums such as Brandie Wood when she counted the 28 times her twins looked to her for approval or attention, which she would have missed if her eyes had been on a screen.
Now David Rosenman shares how he fulfilled a simple request from his nine-year-old daughter to make her the focus, and the beautiful feedback he received from a stranger as a result.
Here is David’s full post on Facebook.
“This morning, at her request, I took our 9-year-old daughter to a coffee shop. She brought with her a little crocheting activity; I brought the newspaper, a notebook & pen, and my phone,” David wrote.
“This was going to be an outing not unlike others we’d had before: while sitting at the same table, we’d do our own things — she’d keep herself occupied with something, and I’d catch-up on emails, organize my week, get work done, etc. Sound familiar?
“Today, she made one additional request: “Daddy, can you not read the paper or doodle or check email today? Can we just be together?”
Those words coming from your own child would be enough to stop any parent in their tracks, and it certainly had a profound impact on David.
“I’m not trying to be melodramatic; that was her question. So today, we were together,” he wrote.
“She showed me her yarn project. I recalled the day she was born. We compared notes about whether or not couples at other tables were on “dates” (she likes to impersonate people on dates — resting her smiling face on her hand and practicing a starry-eyed stare).
“She told me about her friends and their hamsters. I watched her chew her breakfast sandwich and melted a little bit as I thought about how much I love her. I wished it hadn’t taken her past experience and her courageous reaching out for me to give her the attention she so wanted and needed.”
They are small for such a short time
Every day social media sites and news headlines are flooded with reminders for parents that our children will only be small for so long, it’s easy to become immune.
But, if the daughter’s question and David’s words of reflection weren’t enough, a stranger’s note helped sum up the profound impact such a short moment in time can have on a child.
The amazing handwritten note, perhaps written by a teacher but certainly by someone who has seen plenty of opposite cases for comparison, powerfully explains what a unique thing David had done by devoting his attention to his daughter.
“I work at a school where many daughters don’t have fathers and, those who do, have never in their lives had him watch and listen and devote 100 per cent of his attention to her for as long as you did on one Sunday morning,” the note said.
“You have no idea what a gift you are giving to all the teachers who are responsible for educating her from now until she graduates.”
The stranger’s note obviously inspired David to share a lesson he learned that day, as he so beautifully explains at the end of his post.
“Please don’t wait for your child or other loved one to plead for your attention like mine did – he or she might not,” he wrote.
“Expect that no one will leave a note for you – such beauty in this world is far too rare.
“I invite you to share the gift of this experience with me: choose to be present today – even for just a little while – for someone you love. If you see it happen somewhere, consider leaving a note – it sure does leave an impression.”