Coffee And A Wake Up Call
So often these days, if you look around, you’ll see folks sitting right next to each other, but never saying a word. Their attention is focused on some type of mobile device instead of the person they are with. It’s even more heartbreaking to see this occur while families are out together.
For many, this type of disjointed togetherness has gradually become routine. So, when David Rosenman’s young daughter asked to join him on his trip to the coffee shop, the plan was for each of them to do their own thing at the table. That is, until an innocent request from his sweet daughter and the events that
Read on to hear David’s wake up call. . .
Dear Fellow Human Beings,
This morning, at her request, I took our 9-year-old daughter to a coffee shop. She brought with her a little crocheting activity; I brought the newspaper, a notebook & pen, and my phone. This was going to be an outing not unlike others we’d had before: while sitting at the same table, we’d do our own things — she’d keep herself occupied with something, and I’d catch-up on emails, organize my week, get work done, etc. Sound familiar?
Today, she made one additional request: ‘Daddy, can you not read the paper or doodle or check email today? Can we just be together?’ I’m not trying to be melodramatic; that was her question.
So today, we were together. She showed me her yarn project. I recalled the day she was born. We compared notes about whether or not couples at other tables were on “dates” (she likes to impersonate people on dates — resting her smiling face on her hand and practicing a starry-eyed stare). She told me about her friends and their hamsters. I watched her chew her breakfast sandwich and melted a little bit as I thought about how much I love her.
I wished it hadn’t taken her past experience and her courageous reaching out for me to give her the attention she so wanted and needed.
Before we left, I went up to the counter to order a take-out snack for her brother. When I returned to our table, there was a note, left face-down, in front of my seat. My daughter told me that a woman, before leaving the coffee shop, had asked her if I was her father and said that the message was for me. I looked around (nobody was there) and flipped over the paper to find the words below.
‘I work at a school where many daughters don’t have fathers and those who do have never in their lives had him watch and listen and devote 100% of his attention to her for as long as you did on one Sunday morning. You have no idea what a gift you are giving to all the teachers who are responsible for educating her from now until she graduates.’
This anonymous message was enough of a reinforcement for me, that I hope more people might be guided by its power and by its author’s thoughtfulness.
Please don’t wait for your child or other loved one to plead for your attention like mine did — he or she might not. Expect that no one will leave a note for you — such beauty in this world is far too rare. I invite you to share the gift of this experience with me: choose to be present today — even for just a little while — for someone you love. If you see it happen somewhere, consider leaving a note — it sure does leave an impression.
Being a good parent isn’t always easy...but it also isn’t all that hard. It’s mostly about showing up for your kids and making them a priority. More than money or gifts or getting their way, kids really just want quality time with their parents. Being “together” isn’t just about physical proximity. It’s about both people being fully present and investing time and attention to each other.
Thank you, David, for sharing your experience and this important lesson. Because this is what God desires for all of our relationships, including our relationship with Him. There are so many distractions throughout the day. Let’s not allow them to come between what really matters!
To hear about another great dad, you just have to read this heartfelt letter written by a single father!