Tuesday, October 1, 2013

sols: the greatest gift

Slice of Life hosted at the 

I enjoy the drive between daycare drop off and my school.  The quietness in the car.  The muffled sounds of the outside.  My brain thinking in high gear, creating that mental to-do list of all the things I need to do as soon as I step foot inside of school.

However, to occasionally curb my thinking, I listen to an audio book.  I never thought I could stay focused to listen to a book being read to me.  (Yes, I have moments of lapse where I need to rewind.)  My audio book listening goes in phases, all depending on the book and the narrator. Truly the narrator sells the book.  If it's a good one, I'll pick up another from the library.  If it's a not-so-good-one, I turn it all off and return to the hum of the car.

Last week I started an audio book, The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe.  I believe this book was recommended by a fellow slicer.  It's quite an amazing story about a mother and son who start a book club to connect as his mother is slowly dying from pancreatic cancer.  It isn't a story of her death, but rather a story of the power of story and passion for reading.  Quite honestly, I'm amazed at the number of titles mentioned throughout the book.  (And, yes, I looked in the printed version and there is an appendix including all the titles and authors mentioned and discussed.)  The book is moving in many ways, but what I love about it is the honesty of the joy of reading and the wonders created when reading together.

As I was driving home today continuing to listen, my head titled and I quickly grabbed a pen and paper.  I pressed the rewind button to hear the audio transform into an unintelligible language before releasing the button to hear this again:
The greatest gift you can give anyone is your 
undivided attention.
It's amazing how words can speak to you.  I thought about this idea in all the facets of my life:  as a mom, as a wife, as a teacher, as a friend, as a colleague.  We are always so busy and thinking about the next thing to do or the next thought to say.  I wondered, "Am I ever truly present in the moment giving my undivided attention?"

I already know the benefits of being in the moment with my girls.  They crave my attention and I try to not get caught up in the laundry, dishes, or my phone.  I know their behavior changes and I am challenged when I am not giving my undivided attention.   Today, I will give the greatest gift to them.

Quite honestly, I can cut and paste and say the same thing whether I'm being a mom, a wife, a teacher, a friend, or a colleague.  We all want to feel valued and accepted.  We all crave attention (good or bad!).  We all act differently depending on the attention we receive.

Undivided attention, being there, being present, being in the moment.  I will give the greatest gift in all the coming tomorrows.  Will you try it too?  (And don't forget to share a good book title too!)


  1. Sigh. I love, love, love this post. Love. I love how you unfolded the slice here. The pacing was perfect, every detail adding up to the whole. I love how you slowed down the pacing and I was right there with you when you were rewinding the audio.
    But I especially love this line, "Today, I will give the greatest gift to them." Oh, how that spoke to my heart. It was exactly the right message I needed to hear right now at this exact time. And you couldn't have said it any better.
    I'm putting it in my writer's notebook (and my heart) right now.

  2. This is a title I have picked up more than once. You make me want to get hold of it right away. And thanks for this oh so important reminder. So hard to do! And yet so, so, so very important…

  3. I am not sure how to say it, but this piece was so you - thinking, caring and speaking from the heart. I would like to add that sometimes besides giving our attention to others we need to give undivided attention to ourselves.

    1. Funny you mention that Terje! That thought crossed my mind as well, but I feel I'm in a phase in my life right now where I am always coming last and there is much undivided attention to me. Perhaps another goal to strive for improvement! Thank you for your thoughts! :)

  4. I enjoyed this book when I read it and was totally amazed at the number of deep, thoughtful books that they read and discussed. Giving someone our undivided attention is so meaningful, not only to the other person, but to yourself also. In Stephen Ministry we teach a whole module on "the art of listening". We give so much more of ourselves when we truly listen. I feel this is true in our spiritual life too. We need to give our undivided attention to what God is telling us. Thanks for the reminder to give our undivided attention to others. I agree with Terje's comment too - we need to give some undivided attention to ourselves! Love ya, Mom


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.