Posts tagged ‘Lessons’

November 8, 2011

Connecting Because We’re Disconnected

The other night John, Jacob and I went to visit some new friends we’d met at our church. They have a little boy just two months older than Jacob and the last time we met, the boys had a whole lot of fun playing together. This time wasn’t very different—except there was more hugging.  The other little boy thought Jacob’s head was really fun to hug. I have to say, I agree.


Probably because this time we (the parents) were on the floor with the two of them, there were only a couple of times that they had conversations with one another. And any time one of us (the parents) commented on how cute it was, they’d stop talking, look at us, and start doing something different. Oh, well. We still had a good time.


After we got home, I was on kind of a high. This couple is so grounded, so smart, and so much fun. Their little boy is super sweet, plus he has curly hair, which, on my hierarchy of baby cuteness is a very close third to 1) Jacob and 2) our friends’ babies (which he also falls under). We really enjoy this family’s company, but there was something more to the evening that I couldn’t put my finger on. A few hours later, I figured it out.


No one answered a call, sent a text, or checked an email during our entire visit. We were completely present to one another. And it felt so good.


I can’t say I’m entirely innocent, but most of the time when I’m with other people, I keep my phone out of the way. If I need to make a call or answer a text, I acknowledge what I’m doing, apologize for the interruption, and get it done with quickly.


I’m amazed when we have friends over or are out with people, and the same courtesy isn’t offered. It’s more texting than calling. So often I’ll have a friend communicating with someone else when they’re supposedly spending time with me. I think the assumption is that we’re friends and we can be casual with one another. But a visit with me is not a time to make plans with someone else. What that does is say to me, “Hey, you’re cool, but I have something more important going on that takes precedence.” Not okay.


I’m unsure as to what to do about it, because it seems such common practice and everyone else seems to accept it. But it doesn’t sit right with me, and this evening was a reminder of how great visiting with friends can be when we’re disconnected from everything else.


This is the kind of courtesy, attentiveness, and friendship I want to teach Jacob, and the only way I can do that is to model it myself—and encourage my friends to do the same.

July 20, 2010

Life Lessons

Like just about any parent, there are certain values I believe I absolutely must teach my children: kindness, charity, responsibility, compassion, and love, among others. While I realize most of these I still need to learn a lot about myself, I also understand that these lessons often take a lifetime to fully appreciate.

With that in mind, I hope that if I continue to grow in these virtues, I’ll be able to teach my children that they are what we need to strive for. We are all works-in-progress; even though none of us is perfect, there are certain things we try our best to live out. A heartfelt effort is the best we can ask for, and it will often lead to greater results than we’d ever imagined ourselves capable of.

As crucial as these lessons are, there are a couple of other, less momentous things I also consider vital to a good and happy life. A number of these things my mother taught me, and I consider it my duty to pass onto my children (especially any daughters I may have).

These include a) As a matter of fact and not opinion, Dirty Dancing is an excellent movie. The combination of Patrick Swayze, dancing, and that blasted watermelon is a recipe for cinematic perfection; and b) French fries can and should be dipped in milkshakes when the opportunity presents itself.

At thirty-two weeks, I’m continuing to count up the weeks of my pregnancy, but realizing the moment is imminent in which I’ll start counting down to my due date. As that time approaches, I’m more aware of what I have a responsibility to teach our little Peanut.

First and foremost, this child may be born in New York, but its roots are Jersey through and through. This leads to sub-articles a and b, which are that 1a) Taylor ham is the eighth wonder of the world; and 1b) Bon Jovi songs should always, always be accompanied by a succession of fist pumps.

Secondly, the “bagels” at Dunkin Donuts (as much as I love that place) are not really bagels at all—they are round pieces of a bread-like substance, searching for an identity. Real bagels rarely have true holes through them, and are sold at specialty delis that are only open between the hours of six a.m. and three p.m., or something of a similar window.

Thirdly, the Bee Gees did not produce what is considered “good” or “quality” music. “Stayin’ Alive” might be fun every now and then, but I hope our little one will not be fooled, no matter what its father tells it. I trust a few bars of “Good Lovin’” or anything else by the Rascals should sort this one out, should there be any question, ever.

All right, I know you’re out there, readers—or at least folks who accidentally click on my blog a couple of times a week. So here’s your chance to make yourself known: if you could teach one somewhat inconsequential pearl of wisdom to a child in your life (be it son or daughter, niece or nephew, godson or goddaughter), what would it be?

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