Have you ever noticed how the things that need your attention are constantly beeping?
The microwave that indicates your food is ready.
The washing machine that tells you the load of laundry is done.
The dryer that tells you it’s time to do the worst. laundry. task. ever…fold clothes.
The oven that alerts you that it’s been preheated.
And of course, there’s the smoke detector in my basement that has been incessantly beeping for about 5 days straight now. Who actually keeps 9-volt batteries on hand? In our house, it’s all about the AA or AAA so that the electronics can keep things running smoothly.
These beeping appliances remind me of something…they remind me that they are the ‘urgent’ tasks that must be handled. Things like getting dinner on the table; ensuring that everyone has clean clothes to wear. And of course, the smoke detector which is there to keep your family safe.
These tasks, while they are necessary, aren’t the most important things in life. They help facilitate caring for the most important things in your life…your family…
But your kids, your animals, your spouse (if you have one); none of these come with built in beeping mechanisms to alert you when they need attention. Knowing when these most important areas of your life need attention is something that takes practice, skill, and dedication.
For instance, when one of your kids takes out their anger or frustration on the other, that might be a good indication that something is awry. Or, when your animals start barfing (or worse, pooping) in the house for no apparent reason, there might be something deeper going on. Or if your spouse, who is typically open and communicative, suddenly becomes sullen and withdrawn, that would make me question what’s happening in their life.
See, in my opinion, the beeping of our appliances was meant to be a modern convenience; something to help us not ‘forget’ about the load of clothes in the washer (so they don’t get smelly and mil-dewy). Something to snap us out of the most important work of tending to and caring for our family.
When was the last time we were so engrossed in conversation with our family or involved in a board game with our kids that we just ‘forgot’ to tend to the responsibilities of the household? I can’t say that I remember a time, if there ever was one, that I forgot about the dirty dishes in the sink.
I think, somewhere along the way, we got things mixed up and backwards. The things that should be getting the BEST of us and the BEST of our attention are now on the back burner. They are getting the leftovers of our days. They are getting the attention after all household responsibilities are taken care of…
…Because those are the beeps that get our attention…
Or maybe it’s just me.
Maybe I’m the only one who can ‘forget’ what’s truly important.
Maybe I’m the only one who says to my precious girl, “Just a second, let me load the dishwasher first,” when asked if I will look at a painting or a drawing created at the artful hands of my daughter.
Maybe I’m the only one who says to my brave boy, “Just a second, let me get the clothes out of the dryer first,” when asked if I can see the masterful work he has created with Legos.
Maybe I’m the only one who faces these issues…
We all have the same number of hours in a day. It’s what how we choose to spend those hours that makes a difference.