These days, both parents and kids are so busy with work, school, and extracurricular activities it's often hard to make time for each other. Even when you do, you might still forget to actually be together — no phones, no computers, no distractions. That was one lesson a 9-year-old daughter reminded her dad, David Rosenman, one fateful Sunday morning.
While at their local coffee shop, Rosenman and his daughter were sitting at their table consumed in their respective activities — his newspaper and phone, her crocheting work — when his daughter said, "Daddy, can you not read the paper or doodle or check email today? Can we just be together?" That simple request took Rosenman aback. By putting aside their distractions, father and daughter were able to share projects, stories, and even impressions of other couples they thought might be on dates. "I... melted a little bit as I thought about how much I love her," Rosenman wrote later in a Facebook post. "I wished it hadn't taken her past experience and her courageous reaching out for me to give her the attention she so wanted and needed."
That experience was made even more meaningful for Rosenman when a kind stranger took notice of it. Before leaving, he ordered a "take-out snack" to bring home to his son. When he returned to the table, Rosenman discovered a note face-down in front of his seat. An anonymous teacher had left him a message thanking him for giving his daughter the attention many young women are never lucky enough to receive from their fathers. "You have no idea what a gift you are giving to all the teachers who are responsible for educating her from now until she graduates," the note concluded.
Taken aback by the impact of this small gesture, Rosenman decided to share a picture of it on Facebook so that it could inspire others. "This anonymous message was enough of a reinforcement for me, that I hope more people might be guided by its power and by its author's thoughtfulness," he wrote in an accompanying post.
"Please don't wait for your child or other loved one to plead for your attention like mine did — he or she might not," Rosenman went on to write. "Choose to be present today — even for just a little while — for someone you love. If you see it happen somewhere, consider leaving a note — it sure does leave an impression."
Take it from Rosenman, he would know.