What’s the secret sauce of relationships, I’ve often wondered. And here, I’m talking about relationships of all kinds.
Let me start with a story I remember reading, told by George MacLeod, a Scottish clergyman, about his little girl’s first day of school :
I was busy. I was writing letters. I was self-important. My little daughter was going to school that morning for the first time. She came into my room, in her first school uniform. I said, ‘Your tie is not quite straight.’ Then I looked at her eyes. She wasn’t crying. She was unutterably disappointed. She hadn’t come for tie inspection. She had come to show she was going to school for the first time. A terrific day, and I had let her down…
I ran downstairs. I said all the right things. I crossed the road with her. I went to school with her. I had missed the moment, missed the point. I will always see these eyes. Sometimes when I am very busy. Sometimes when I am writing letters. I am forgiven, but I won’t forget.
The Secret Sauce Of Relationships
I guess different aspects of relationships are important for different people but the one thing that I really feel solidifies relationships is : attention.
We just don’t seem to spend enough time with those we love. I don’t like to use the phrase ‘quality time’ because it somehow seems so scripted. But if we could make the time we spend with our significant others count, it would be quality time, wouldn’t it?
Dance With Your Cinderellas
When Steven Curtis Chapman who lost his 5-year old, adopted daughter Maria Sue in a tragic accident, he was inspired to write a song called Dance With Your Cinderellas. (Listen to Steven’s song below or here. The essence of the song is that we should spend as much time as we can with our loved ones before it is too late.
It got me thinking if I was spending enough time with the people who really matter to me. Do they know how I feel about them? When did I last tell them how much I care? Are there other Cinderellas out there who need me and I’m not paying attention to.
The Joys Of Quiet Conversations
The joys of a quiet conversation are myriad. There’s nothing quite like it to unburden yourself. To know that you are being listened to. To feel that you are special. Many a memory is made up of meaningful conversations with significant others.
It is at these times that we learn to still ourselves to listen to the other. To give her the gift of our undivided attention. It is when we learn how our lives can make a difference to other lives.
If we pay more attention to others, someday, in the future, someone will tell us how our attention and words made a difference.
In October, I started writing a series called 31 Days about Living A Principle Driven Life. Since I wasn’t able to complete it then, I’m doing so now. You can follow my posts here.
I agree with you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about relationships. I think we should never take anyone for granted and we should learn to accept people as they are. It would also be nice if we learn understand more about others by thinking from their point of view. Regards, Lakshmi
Thank you for this reminder that our attention matters. Sometimes just listening is enough.
Yes, attention matters. Love that story from George MacLeod.
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Carol Ann Cassara
I can’t tell you how much I love this and how it resonates this week especially.
So true. Probably the most important factor of all in relationships.
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