One of many benefits of being retired is the ability to live in the here and now. For years when I was working and raising a family, I always had too many things to do. Even when I was attending an event or sitting in a meeting, my mind had moved on to all the other things that I had to do. The X on a map may have showed that I was there, but mentally I had moved on.
As a young mother I attended my son's little league games, but many times I brought along work related reading material. I was there, but not fully engaged. I know that now, but at the time I thought I was doing the best that I could to balance the demands of my work with family life. The reality is that I short-changed the people that I love the most, my family.
The technology has improved greatly over the years and now parents can carry their work with them everywhere they go. At any event that I attend, I see people with their fingers working the keys of their cell phones. Instead of enjoying a performance live, audience members are busy recording it on their cell phones to post to Facebook.
The ability to multi-task is a valuable skill, but there is also worth in offering your undivided attention. The way to show staff, family or friends that they are important to you is to pay attention. Show those you care about that they are important by focusing on them and what they have to say. I think this is especially true for the children in your life.
My grandchildren are still small, but they are growing up quickly. I know how fortunate I am to be able to spend time with them. I am building relationships with them now, while they still like hanging out with me. I hope that will carry us through the teenage years when I expect they won't be quite so eager to spend time with Nana. When I'm with the girls I still carry a cell phone, but they are my priority...really, what is more important than grandchildren?