Several years ago, I met another mother while playing at the park with my son. It was a chance meeting at the swings. We were pushing our toddlers and casually chatting as parents in the park often do, however, this interaction was different. In a matter of minutes, we connected on several topics and realized we had many things in common. We spoke and laughed as if we had been friends for years. It was a feeling of being known. To this day, she remains one of my closet friends.
When I reflect on my friendship, I can’t help but wonder who I’ve missed connecting with when I wasn’t present? We live in a social media driven, multitasking world where it can be challenging to put down our phones, ignore “to do lists” and just be. The North American culture is so focused on productivity that we don’t always see the cost of being too busy. If we are not rested, balanced and grounded, then we are less available for connection. In the short term, that might mean missing opportunities to build a stronger sense of community or meeting a new friend. Over time, lack of recognition, validation and connectivity can erode the quality of our relationships. In order to be recognized, we must be willing to be seen and be open to sharing time. Our attention is a limited resource and therefore valuable. If we are mindful to invest it wisely then our relationships will profit.
-Laura MacRae-Serpa, MFTI, CCLS has special interests in supporting children and families navigating adoption and the challenges of chronic illness.