Do you remember what you bought your kids for Christmas two years ago or what you got them for their birthday when they were four? Chances are your child would be hard pressed to remember too. But, I bet they will remember who was there with them when they celebrated their holidays and milestones.

What I remember most about my childhood were the times my grandfather took me fishing and the times my father let me keep him company on service calls. My dad owned his own business, which meant he worked VERY long hours, but he was almost always home in time to read me a bedtime story. My grandmother used to play with us. That’s right; she actually got on the floor and played with us when we were little. I remember finding my first bike under the Christmas tree, and I remember when I received my favorite, most cherished childhood toy: a doll house, but most of my memories are full of the relationships I had with the grownups who invested time and energy in my childhood.

I feel sad for the child who is picked up from childcare by a parent who is distracted on their cell phone, barely acknowledging their child. I don’t think parents mean to do this – we are all so busy with so many expectations and responsibilities placed on us, but we need to remember how much our attention means to our children. And you know what; they’re going to get our attention one way or another. Do we want a happy child or a whining disagreeable child? Most of the time, we get to decide how it’s going to go.