Our American Friends are Celebrating Thanksgiving...
And in the spirit of all good celebrations, I hope there were copious amounts of delicious food, turkey, laughs, family, friendship, and love for the many people in our lives.
Mostly I hope people made time for those they love, which seems a little obvious, yet the actual act of being PRESENT can often be overlooked.
Holiday celebrations aside, I've recently begun a seemingly insignificant, but massively important act in our home. Staying at the table until everyone is finished eating.
Now, you might say this is a given, especially as far as (teaching) etiquette goes, but with a ten and eight year old, homework, dishes to clean, and lunches to prep, sometimes we get on 'task' mode with our often slower/pickier eaters, and I find that I have to restrain myself from just getting up and on to the next task on the huge list of things to accomplish before bedtime.
I mean, I can still talk to them all, right? We have an eat-in kitchen... does it really matter? The short answer - YES. It does. Because staying THERE, at the table, forces me to be present.
The result of staying at the table?
We actually TALK. Our boys share about their day, their friendships, daily class routines, and the nitty-gritty we just wouldn't hear about otherwise.
THIS is where getting to know someone happens - in the small talk, and the spaces in between.
It's In The Little Things...
I first considered how I could make our family time together more meaningful after watching Shonda Rhimes' TedTalk called, "My Year of Saying Yes." I encourage you to watch it. If Shonda can make time, we all can.
Essentially she started saying YES to things that scared her, and even more importantly, saying YES when her children asked her to play with them. Every time.
It turns out, most kids are happy with just 15 minutes of your solid attention before they're on to the next activity.
Noticing Your Impulses
Let's take a look at why some people have more impulses to get to the next task, and others are quite content to nurse their drink while conversing for what might seem like hours.
The answer lies in whether you're TASK focused, or PEOPLE focused.
On the left side of the diagram, you'll notice D and C, the green and yellow quadrants.
Typically people who are dominant in these quadrants are compelled by TASKS.
Ds and Cs often move on to the next task at hand quite quickly, sometimes without recognizing or realizing that others may not be ready yet.
This will be a super clue if you're around a Thanksgiving table this weekend 😉
The right side of this diagram, the I and S quadrants put their focus on people, happily enjoying the conversation and the people, most importantly.
Neither is better or worse, right or wrong. It's just worth noticing.
TASK Person vs PEOPLE Person
Task people love tasks. It's as simple as that. They keep the agenda moving along and on track, which is awesome. However, sometimes in their haste to get a job done, the opportunity for deeper connection can be missed.
PEOPLE people love, well... people! They are really focused on making deep connections with others, inquiring, entertaining, and supporting those they're speaking to. And they can sometimes forget about the dishes.
Today, in the spirit of gratitude and presence,I'm going to suggest you forget about the dishes - at least for a little bit.
Today, I encourage you to invest in the people around your table.
Lean In. Level Up. Leverage.
Notice your impulses. Do you NEED to get to the next task - feeling like chit-chatting is a time waster?
Or are you happy to keep chatting (and perhaps forget to help clean up too, lol)?
Today, just try being PRESENT with the people in your life, even if it means putting tasks aside just for a few extra minutes while the moments in between begin to unfold.
Look for ways to keep this connection going more regularly. Could it be just staying put until everyone is finished eating? Or maybe it's taking 15 minutes to play with your kids whenever they ask.
Whatever it is, find something that works for you. Your relationships will thank you for it.
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