I intentionally chose to complicate life this summer by putting the kids in alternating weeks of camp. Both of them have asked for one-on-one time with me over the last few months, so this was the perfect opportunity for quality time and conversation.
What I’ve learned is that:
1. They smile a lot more when I look them in the eye and really listen when they are telling me their silly and serious stories.
- Lesson: Their days can be just as frustrating, exciting, scary and wonderful as ours. Their worries and wonders are real to them, take them seriously.
- Challenge: Set aside 10 minutes every day for each of them to talk in a quiet place without electronic distractions.
2. They love hearing stories about me getting in trouble when I was a kid and my crazy college hijinks, and it always sparks more conversation and giggles.
- Lesson: Letting them get to know the real me and the family characters before me is a gift they will be able to share with their children.
- Challenge: Look through old albums and remind them they came from a long line of love and family. Pride in family is taught, and it’s our job to teach it.
3. The hugs I have gotten over the last two weeks are unreal. My kids are always loving but they are hugging a little tighter and holding on a little longer now.
- Lesson: Kids need to know they are loved, and want us to know they love us. They can’t always voice what they are feeling, showing it is easier.
- Challenge: Never let go of a child’s hug first, no matter what you’re in the middle of doing.
4. I haven’t planned elaborate adventures for the kids, but we do a little something each day to make them feel special. And they don’t ask for a thing when they know have my attention.
- Lesson: It won’t be long before they go through the friends first phase. Any time they want to spend quality time with you, make the time. But make sure they know you want to hang with them just as much.
- Challenge: Make a date night with them at least once a month. Set the standard now and it will become a tradition forever.
So what I have really learned is that:
I am blessed to have two amazing children.
I am privileged to love them.
I am fortunate to like them just as much.