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New Year’s Resolutions

“The most important thing that parents need to understand is that the brain of their child will become exactly what the child was exposed to. That is the beauty of the human brain. It is the mirror to the child’s developmental experience.”
Bruce D Perry, Ph.D., Senior Fellow of the Child Trauma Academy in Huston, Texas.
I made a new year’s resolution this year. I don’t often do this, but I have this year. This year I resolved to keep my phone off the dinner table. I had an “A-ha” moment one week in December. I was in a Pizza Hut for a late lunch. I was eating alone, so I was doing one of my favorite things: People watching.
There were only about five tables in the restaurant at the time. So it was an easy job.
There was a table of two ladies that were obviously old friends, maybe even sisters. They laughed and talked so much that they hardly had time to eat.
There was a table where a man sat alone, working feverishly on his laptop. Typing in between bites of salad and pasta, he worked during his whole lunch.
There was also a lady, who I think was a childcare provider. I believe this because she had with her three kids, who were too close in age to be all hers. I guess she could have been their aunt. She spent all her time answering questions like Who is that lady who brought us our drinks? What is that beeping? Why is that phone hanging on the wall? Where does the pizza come from? WHY? As a Pizza Hut employee for many years, these questions made me giggle.
There was also a table with just a Mom and her toddler-aged child. The little boy was in a high chair beside the mom, talking and jabbering. Mom was also engaged in talking and jabbering back. But then her phone dinged, and Mom picked up the phone to reply to the message, then another, and then another. The little boy was patient at first, but then he started to vie for his mom’s attention. Little fusses at first but then becoming more insistent with squeals and cries, fighting for his mom’s attention from the screen in her hand. Eventually, the little boy and I made eye contact and made faces at each other until Mom was done with what she was doing. It was fun!
I am sharing my resolution with you because a child’s social-emotional development has so much to do with their relationships and connections with the people in their world. The richer those relationships, the more developed their social-emotional skills become. We work on these skills a lot at the preschool level. I know you do at home, too.
My challenge to all of us is to keep your phone off the table during mealtimes. Put it in your purse; keep it in your pocket. Choose to be mindfully present with whoever you are eating with.
What if Cleopas was too busy looking at a stone tablet at dinner after the walk to Emmaus instead of engaging at the table with the Resurrected Jesus? You never know what might happen at dinner.


Published by Miss Jenni

Just trying to do better than I used to do.

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