I spent a long time this morning trying to bulldoze my way through a post for today, but it just wouldn’t come. My thoughts were scattered and I couldn’t focus. It didn’t help that my 4-year-old needed a snack. And then a drink. And her markers. And some paper. And she needed me to pet the dog with her.
In a word, she needed attention.
My dad calls it the “soggy potato chip theory.” A soggy potato chip is better than no potato chip at all. When I stopped to get the bowl of goldfish and the cup of juice, I was interacting with her instead of my laptop. Finding the markers and paper? No laptop. Petting the dog? You get my drift.
May not seem like much but, to her, it was better than nothing.
I love the fact that young children know exactly what they need. When they need your attention, they generally don’t beat around the bush. They persist. And they try again. And they don’t give up until they have it.
When my kids need a hug, they hug me. No mind games.
None of the “she should know I need a hug without me having to tell her.” Or the “why do I always have to be the one to initiate?”
The other day we were in the car together, and we had a precious conversation about where she would live when she grew up, and how old she would be when she moved out of the house. All because the radio was turned off and she had my attention.
I’m going to float a crazy theory, but I’d be willing to bet the same concept might work with our spouses. Need attention? Ask for it. Want a hug? Go get it. Really pay attention to what he or she is saying. Turn the proverbial radio that is your life off for a few minutes.
I don’t mean to oversimply, because I get that many things in your day need your attention. My challenge is simply this: watch for the moments in your day when your family needs you instead of another soggy potato chip.