How Paying Attention to the Little Things Has Made a Big Impact on My Relationships

How Paying Attention to the Little Things Has Made a Big Impact on My Relationships

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When you think of gaining wisdom, you might think of attending a session led by someone with a PhD attached to their name. Perhaps you think of the Dalai Lama or deep meditation or even stories from a grandmother. Well, guess what? When you’re paying attention, you can gain quite a bit of wisdom from a preschooler.

Last night at 11pm, I was woken by the voice from our talking kitchen smoke alarm. “Heads up: the battery needs replacing.” This was followed by an insanely loud chirp going off every 60 seconds. I could hear it from the other side of the house, through 3 closed doors, so I quickly realized there would be no ignoring it until morning.

I got out of bed and stood on a chair half asleep (I don’t recommend this). Then I took the alarm from the ceiling only to find out that the batteries it needed, we did not have. So I left it on the counter to deal with it today and went back to bed.

This morning, our 3-year-old, Elijah, walked in the kitchen. The first thing he did was look straight up at the ceiling and ask, “Where is the smoke alarm?”

My mind is blown by the details he is paying attention to.

In fact, a few weeks ago, the same thing happened when I changed out my toothbrush from a blue one to a purple one. As we brushed our teeth alongside each other, he said to me, “Mommy, you got a new toothbrush! The blue one is gone, and now you have a purple one!”

He notices when I put on a shirt I haven’t worn in a while. The 1 day a year when I wear earrings, he calls it out. When I’ve been to the grocery store and the fruit basket has been refilled, he points it out proudly. He also notices when I try to hide the cookie canister that Grandma brought over so that I can eat the last one. (Oh, did I type that out loud?)

And the moral of the story is… ?

This has me thinking hard about the details that I pay attention to. And how much of an impact can it have if we pay attention to the details within our daily interactions with others? With our kids, with people we work with or those we buy lunch from. The details of us.

My husband and I had a client once who gave us the most thoughtfully personalized gifts. One of these was a photo of our new son with his name and birth details printed on the frame. It was just after his birth. They paid attention to the details of US, and we’ll never forget their kindness.

If my preschooler can notice the little things, I certainly can, too. And if paying attention to those things can strengthen a relationship with a friend, with a spouse, with my kids … then it’s a little thing that can make a very big difference.


What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your kids? (Share in the comments below!)


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Cyndi Harvell Lee

I'm an artist, musician, and mother of two boys. My goal is to help you keep your sanity, find your peace, and thrive on this wild journey called Motherhood.

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