Nurturing Family Closeness
Granting fellow family members the privilege of experiencing undivided attention works magically to develop closer relationships. However, in our hurried society our attention is usually divided in many directions. There is getting dinner, feeding the cat, answering the phone and talking with a family member—all at once.
Undivided attention honors the individual and the relationship. Even a few seconds can make someone's day. The anecdote below describing a mother's experience with her teenage daughter is an excellent example of practicing the Undivided Attention principle.
Sara had just come home from school and was eating a snack. I was puttering in the kitchen so that I could visit with her and get some work done, too. Then it occurred to me that I was giving her attention but not undivided attention. So I stopped everything and sat down at the kitchen counter.
Meanwhile, she had gotten up and was getting something out of her backpack. I just sat and said nothing and waited while giving her my full attention. Usually she heads for the computer and jumps on the Internet at this point in her routine. Instead, she sat down on my lap, and she stayed there for the next half hour. We didn't talk of anything significant. She wanted to nuzzle and play the part of a small child with me. When she was satisfied, she got up and continued with her usual routine.
I was amazed at what had happened simply because I was totally present for her. She really needed it, I assume, because we were closer for a long time afterwards.
Count the number of times you practiced undivided attention today, then gradually increase that number, eventually giving all the family members this special attention as often as possible. We predict the family dynamics will remarkably improve as the principle of Undivided Attention is put into daily practice. It will seem like magic!