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1001 Tips for Military Families – #415

Be Present – Tip #415

I don’t mean “be a present”!  I mean be present in the moment and with what you are doing with friends and family when you are with them.  Too often I will say to my kids that I will spend time with them only to hear the exasperated sigh when they lean over to tell me something about the and I am answering an email on my Blackberry.  It isn’t okay.  Yesterday I was out for dinner and I look over at a family all out having dinner together and one parent is watching the TV over the bar area (don’t get me started about TVs in restaurants) and one parent is texting – for nearly the entire meal no one spoke.  What was the point in going out for dinner together?  Your families, wives, husbands, friends, etc. want to spend time with someone that is listening, living in the moment and attentive.  Being a part of a military family is hard enough when there are absences but it can feel worse and cause much bigger problems when you are all back together but one or more people aren’t really paying attention, showing any interest or too busy doing other things to get plugged in to what the people around them are doing.


* Set aside time everyday to focus on spending quality time together that is without any electronic devices or distractions

* If you are going out to do something together – set limits around answering the phone, texting, emails, etc.

* Unplugging a headset from one ear and leaving it in the other is not giving your full attention

* Put phones on vibrate and explain your thinking about answering particular calls (ex. I am answering the duty phone tonight so I am going to take it with me, I will only answer if ________ calls as they are in the hospital, etc.)

* Look people right in the eye when they are talking to you and really listen to what they are saying, don’t think about what you are going to say next

* Have the same expectations for everyone that is doing something together and make sure they are clear before you start

For more information about our tips, resources and books go to: http://www.WhileYouWereAway.org

To submit a tip of your own, write to: Megan@WhileYouWereAway.org


5 Responses

  1. Excellent article. It is always so easy for me to say, “just a minute I just need to do this“, instead of playing legos.

  2. Timing is everything. I leave 3 hours every morning talking to my husband via Skype. He’s now in Amazon serving the Navy and we truly muss him.

    • Wow! That is wonderful! It must be really hard for you. We are now preparing for the next deployment and with each one the kids are a different age and it is tough in different ways. I hope we will be able to have some Skype time too! Hang in there.

  3. Three hours huh? Wow – my husband is on a submarine, I’m lucky if he even gets any of my emails….

    • Unfortunately, Gina, I am in the same situation. My husband is army and where he goes – I am lucky to get an email. But I am hopeful that this next one I will get some skype time!

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