Yes, we all know this is the golden rule of road crossing and, if you're of a certain age, will remember this message being drummed into you as a child by such characters as Tufty the Squirrel (anyone with me there?) and the Green Cross Code man (who was actually David Prowse who was actually the body - if not the voice - of Darth Vader). Anyway, I digress.....
This post is nothing to do with crossing the road or paying attention to traffic. It is to do with paying attention to children. My children. You see, when it comes to crossing the road, I apply the 'Stop. Look. Listen.' rule every time. When it comes to paying attention to my children though, I am completely crap. I hardly ever stop. I occasionally look. I sometimes listen. But very, very rarely do I do all three at the same time.
"Mummy, come and look at this", they cry or "Mummy, watch me", or "Mummy, look what I can do", proudly wanting to show me their latest colouring in, funny walk, ability to count on their fingers, hold their knife, open their own yoghurt, do a tumble - whatever it may be. And I, as ever rushing against the clock to do seventeen things before the eighteenth thing needs doing, respond with a "Hmmm. Yes, that's nice love. Well done", or a vacant "Yes that's great. Be careful though", without even looking at the thing they are so desparately keen to show me. And for this, I am a crappy mum and a bad person and I apologise.
I'm not setting any resolutions this new year because I'll just get annoyed about denying myself things I want, or trying to summon up the willpower to start things I don't want to do. What I am going to do though is to really try to apply the Green Cross Code in my home. From now on, I won't fob the children off with a bland response or a pretend look or with paint by numbers praise. I will really Stop. I will really Look. I will really Listen.
If it's good enough for Darth Vader, it's good enough for me. And, above all else, I owe it to my children.