The Tenderness of Attention

Nancy saved up for months to shower her granddaughter, Caroline, with the gifts and toys she knew she wanted. Living on a fixed income as many elders do, Nancy worried she couldn’t get her everything. She was afraid she’d be disappointed … disappointed in her.

But Nancy had forgotten that she had the perfect gift for Caroline, and it wouldn’t drain her meager income one dime. She had something Caroline wants, something any child wants.

Nancy has the loving attention she can gift Caroline day in and day out. When toys get lost or are broken or just lose their attraction, wanting to have someone listen to and pay attention to you never gets old. This is what children crave. Heck, most adults crave loving attention too.

So, picture this: Nancy gently lowers herself to the floor to play with Caroline. She asks her questions about her activities and her favorite toys. And she intently listens to her responses. She asks questions and listens to those responses too. She pays attention not just for a few minutes but until Caroline says enough. I bet that’ll be a long time. Nancy is loving her granddaughter as no tangible thing can. She can also bestow focused attention by asking Caroline to join her in one of her activities: cooking, decorating, shopping, or reading a book together.

No gift is greater for a small child (and many oldsters too) than the loving attention of an adult. For children, getting attention is even more important than for adults. Children need attention in order to grow, develop self-esteem and a positive sense of identity, and to flourish and succeed. There’s even research showing that parental attentiveness has a connection to releasing children’s growth hormones.

Look at all you can do with your gift of loving attention.

You might be surprised to learn that many people struggle with paying attention to others. A good attention giver must be aware, alert, and ready to take in information. It seems patience would be helpful too. Having the desire to nurture a child or a relationship with another adult is the main requirement. Listen to hear, not to respond.

So, if you’re feeling the need for gift giving support, remember the power of loving attention. The ability to pay sincere attention is a desirable asset. Some feel that it’s the most sought-after thing a human can offer. No breaking the bank or going into debt.