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May 30, 2006
Taking Time to Talk...
This past holiday weekend, my nine-year-old son Lee and I took a walk together to the local library to return some books. Instead of rushing back home to do the million and one things I had on my mind to do, I plopped down on the grass in shade in front of the library. I lay down and invited Lee to join me. We spent the next hour chatting about his thoughts and feelings about all sorts of things.
Usually, our conversations are limited to me directing him to brush his teeth, load up his backpack for school, do his homework, put his clothes in the hamper or drink his milk, among other tasks. On his part, he is typically asking me what he can have to eat, where is this or that, or can I help him google something on the computer. We chat at night for a few minutes after I read to him and before he falls asleep, but then isn?? the time I want to encourage conversation. The other time we spend together, we??e engaged in some family activity like swimming, hiking or biking, but rarely do we just chat.
It was probably one of the first times we just sat and talked. Perhaps we were able to have such a rich conversation because he?? getting older and is better able to communicate. But I also think it was because I created the time and the space for such an exchange.
I??e been told a thousand times that your kids grow up quickly, and before you even know it, they??e out of the house. I figure Lee, at 9, is half way there. It seems the first 9 years were to take care of his physical needs and now is the time to create and cultivate a meaningful relationship. I think all parents, those who work outside the home and those who don??, probably fall into the trap at times of not really taking the time to get know what our kids our thinking or feeling. I know I do. I think I??l try to change that. Because when Lee is long gone, it's those lazy days laying in the grass and talking that I want him to remember.
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I can't agree with you more Todi. We spend so much time focused on "basic maintenance" parenting that we never step back and examine what we are creating as parents. I can't remember the last time I laid on the grass and just let my kids tell me what was on their minds. We definitely need to make these moments happen, when we just talk to our kids without all the disciplining, minute instructions, to do lists, etc. Thanks for reminding me to lay down on the lawn tomorrow (and risk lyme disease!) and talk to my kids!
Posted by: kathy at May 30, 2006 09:16 PM
Not only did you create the time and place, it didn't take all day to do, you didn't have to juggle something extra into an already packed schedule and it benefitted YOU and YOUR SON! Parents often feel boxed in to believing family time means it has to be something that takes all day or there will be a need to shell out a lot of money to make the time spent memorable.
Check back with your son in a week or two and see if he remembers what you guys did on the lawn in front of the library. I bet he will not only remember the time, but it will hold a special place in his heart too!
So turn on that radio and dance around in the kitchen as you get your dinner ready, this can count as family fun, as can putting the cell phone in the glove compartment of the car and talking to your kids who are hanging out in the back seat. We all have very busy lives, and there are ways to create the time without feeling like we are heaping on more stress to our lives wishing we had a 25 hour day.
Posted by: Devra Renner at May 31, 2006 02:31 PM