Recently, I treated my husband, to a Birthday lunch at a really beautiful 5 star restaurant. It was an absolute spoil for us and we were both so excited to experience our first ever “Master Chef” worthy meal in such a gorgeous setting. Having two little kids, Reid and I absolutely treasure opportunities where we can chat to each other face to face and actually finish our sentences- never mind enjoy great food!

It was because of all this that I was so saddened to observe another couple seated across the room. When we arrived, the girl was on an audible voice call with somebody, giggling and chatting loudly while her partner stared into the distance. What amazed me was that apart from stopping to gobble a few mouthfuls of food, she continued this call for the ENTIRE time until they left!

Reid and I both marvelled at the man’s patience to sit through a meal technically alone, and that they were both okay to miss out on such an incredible opportunity to share a moment together, savour the experience and make a memory!

I have grown up with a mom whose mantra has always been “MAKE A MEMORY”. I have attempted to continue that in my own life and wherever I have travelled or whatever I have done, I have tried my best to BE in the moment and MAKE A MEMORY. That is exactly what my mom’s mantra entails – BEING in the moment, being present, doing something extra special, unique or memorable to imprint that occasion on your heart – and perhaps who ever you are sharing it with too!

I grew up in the era without cell phones and even video cameras were scarce. It was easy to JUST BE in the fullness of the moment, having fun, without the need to capture everything on camera. These days, taking ‘selfies’ or videos, often steals so much from us fully enjoying the actual moment in time.

Phones and cameras aren’t the only things that can distract. Work, or thoughts and concerns about work, can keep us present in body, but completely absent in every other way.

I’ll never forget a friend telling me how she was half-heartedly playing Lego with her young daughter. Her mind was elsewhere thinking about various things she had to do until her daughter said, “Mommy where ARE you?” When she replied that she was right there sitting next to her, her daughter said, “Yes, you’re here, but you’re NOT really here!”  I didn’t have kids at the time, but her story burnt into my memory the reluctance to make the same mistake with my children – being with them, but to be so distracted that they would sense I was not present.

Now, when I get asked,”Mommy come build a puzzle with me!’ or “Mom please colour in with me!”, I try my best to set aside my own thoughts or concerns, hide my phone away and use those moments to laugh, teach, nurture, and CONNECT- knowing that I am sowing valuable seeds of which the fruits of my efforts may only be seen one day in the future.

I understand that it is not always easy. Life is extremely busy for all of us, and so much is constantly demanding our attention. However, we will earn the respect of others (and the devotion of our family) when we look them in the eye and listen to them ACTIVELY (asking meaningful questions and showing genuine interest) instead of offering casual clichés in passing.

Being intentional brings meaning and depth to our lives and relationships and therefore results in greater satisfaction and overall gratitude.

This Christmas season, where it is easy to be caught up in the Christmas meal prep pressure, shopping hype and spending sprees; I encourage (and challenge) you to SLOW DOWN. Stop and focus on those who are important to you (and maybe even one or two who aren’t!) Then, make a deliberate effort to put some undivided attention and commitment into making someone else feel noticed, heard, special.

You might just be amazed at the deep fulfillment and satisfaction you feel- perhaps even the memory that gets made.

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