Our second grandson arrived on the last Saturday of January. Little Leon (named after his maternal grandfather) is a beautiful baby with a relaxed and contented way of being in this world. He’s easy to be with and (in the way of all newborn babes) easy to love. Not that I would be biased in any way!
I was lucky enough to be able to set everything aside for a week to spend time helping his new-to-parenting Mom and Dad, while getting to know the little guy, himself.
The baby’s arrival was delightedly anticipated by all – with the possible exception of grandson number one, Leon’s five year old cousin, Ethan.
When asked why he wasn’t all that excited about the arrival of the new baby, Ethan explained. Using the kitchen counter as a drawing board and his finger as a pen, he pointed to Spot #1 saying, “This is me.” As he drew a circle around Spot #1 he added, “This is all of you paying attention to me.”
“When the baby comes, he’ll be over there,” he continued, pointing out Spot #2 at the other end of the counter. Drawing a circle around Spot #2 (the new baby), Ethan predicted, “This will be all of you paying attention to him.”
And, pointing forlornly at Spot #1, he whispered, “I’ll be over here all by myself.”
I marveled over Ethan’s ability to express his concern and chuckled about his take on the ways of the world. Admittedly, he was not that wrong in his prediction about how things would go down. New babies – new relationships – new enterprises – can be all consuming. And it’s easy, in times like those, for other much loved parts of our lives to get short shrift.
What Ethan doesn’t yet understand is that love is limitless. What he does understand all too well is that time, energy, and attention ARE limited. Every minute of the day we make choices about how to divvy up those precious resources.
Action: As Ethan would say, “So…here’s the thing!” To the best of your ability, do your everyday investments of time, energy and attention match the value you place on the people in your world?
And, if they don’t, what might you adjust so they do? Or, how might you explain the temporary exceptions to those you care about, while assuring them of their honored position in your life?
P.S. On my return from the first new baby visit – over there – my first act was to spend a couple of hours with Ethan doing what he loves to do – over here! It seemed to make him happy. I hope it eased his fears.
Quotes Of The Week: Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention. – Jim Rohn
As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do. – Andrew Carnegie
Resource Of The Week: You might be interested in Jason Iver’s article, The 7 Pillars of Strong Relationships. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to learn that Attention is one of the seven.