A few days ago my dear husband watched the rest of the children while I took my 2 year old daughter Bryn (pronounce the y as a short i) with me to the mall. She sang contentedly during the 70 mile trip. While we were at the mall, I took my time browsing, and I let Bryn do some looking, too. Usually I am in such a hurry and a little frazzled when I take all four of the children shopping with me, so I decided to just relax and enjoy this special outing with Bryn. I let her push the stroller as we traversed the mall, and it was a lot of fun seeing things through her eyes and taking the time to really stop and answer her questions. We ate lunch at the food court, and we dined at a little kid-sized table. We spent about 3 hours at the mall, and Bryn was a pleasure to be with. Now, usually we have to stop constantly while shopping to deal with all kinds of little problems and tantrums, but on this particular day the problems were non-existent. Instead of me busily doing exactly what I wanted to do, I took the time to let my daughter be an active participant in our activity. It may have taken me longer to complete my shopping trip, but our bond was strengthened during the time together.
What did I learn from our shopping excursion? I need to slow down and spend more individual time with each of my children cultivating our relationships. They each have special talents and interests that get pushed aside as I stay busy with routine responsibilities and commitments, and I tend to neglect spending "down time" with the kids just doing fun things.
I believe there is a correlation between my attitude toward my children and my attitude toward spending time with the Lord. When I spend more time in prayer and Bible reading, my heart is softer toward my family, and I have a greater desire to spend more time with them. I hope that my children will grow up remembering that Mommy looked forward to spending time with them individually. They are so precious!