A special thank you to our guest writer; Erin Pitts
Have you ever found yourself talking to a friend, spouse, family member or co-worker and as you speak, the other person is interacting with their phone or smart device? How does that make you feel?
For me, I find myself wondering in those moments if I am wasting my time and if the other person even cares about what I have to say. For our children these feelings can come in similar interactions with us as the adults in their lives. For me as a parent, I can be cleaning my house, preparing a meal or just trying to find a down moment watching TV, and inevitably that will be the moment my children want to give me a detailed account of something they have thought or done during the day. As an educator, these moments can come as I am racing down the hall to complete a task between classes or as we are transitioning between class concepts in a lesson.
Just like adults, our children want to be seen, and though they can choose the most inopportune moments to seek your attention, I think that timing can be a subconscious way of making sure they are valued. Will you stop and listen to me?
One of the most powerful expressions of love we can show is to be intentionally inconvenienced for another. When we stop the chore, task or recreational activity, put it down, and look our kids in the face we tell them, “You Matter!” As parents, community members and educators, truly seeing our kids is not something that merely happens; it requires purposeful acts on our behalf.
I have often heard from empty nesters or grandparents to value my time with my children because it goes by so quickly. That advice has seemed hollow in the early morning feedings as a new mom, when every minute felt like eternity. However, in truth the time we have to help our kids develop a strong sense of self and self-worth is extremely limited, but has such lasting impacts on their lives.
As we emerge from our Covid-19 pandemic isolations to begin reclaiming our activity norms, let’s make sure we remember that no task is greater or more important than authentic human connections. Our actions assign value in our lives. If our actions prioritize our social media, to-do list or jobs over our children, then we are communicating that our children hold less value. As stakeholders in our children’s lives, we must all be ready to stop, drop and listen. I see you. You matter!
Erin Pitts is a native of Simpsonville, South Carolina and holds a dual Masters of Music in Conducting and Music Education from Southwestern Seminary, Fort Worth, TX. Mrs. Pitts has taught music education at Roanoke Elementary for 13 years and has held a variety of leadership positions in Northwest Independent School District, as well as being awarded 2021 Elementary Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Pitts has served as a guest clinician and conductor in Texas, Oklahoma and South Carolina.