When Tove Maren’s youngest boy was admitted to hospital with a serious heart condition, the chaplain told her that the coming weeks would be among the most difficult in her life. He urged her to be fully present in every moment – “be where you are” and to trust that she was right where she was supposed to be all the time. He encouraged her to be fully engaged with her oldest son when she was home with him – to play with him and give him her undivided attention. He reminded her that her youngest son would be very well cared for by the hospital staff.   When she was at the hospital, she was to focus on her ill child and his needs, while trusting that her older boy was well cared for by his father at home. The chaplain’s words stuck with her and she made a decision to follow his advice and “be present in every moment, however scary and frightening it would be”. His words helped her through that very tough time and were ones that she continued to apply in following years, reminding herself daily to “be where you are”.

They’re words that we can all benefit from heeding.  How many of us spend time worrying about what’s going on somewhere else when we’re with our families? Does our worrying help the situation? How easy is it as a parent to switch off, daydream or get distracted by media when we’re with our children?  Being a parent can be tiring and downright hard at times!  Why not consider challenging yourself in the coming weeks to be where you are?  When you’re with your partner or children, given them your full attention. If you’re with friends, really listen to them.  At work, or when doing household chores or hobbies, focus fully on the task at hand.   You might be surprised at how satisfied you feel! 

Jenny Billingham

(If you have a topic that you’d like more information about and think might interest other parents, please don’t hesitate to email me with suggestions at j.billingham@mueller.qld.edu.au  Thanks.)