Do you have a tissue handy? If not you may want to grab one.
So here’s the story. My wife and I try to take one of our kids out each week on “special time”. It’s pretty much exactly what you think it is. Time alone with that kiddo and that kiddo only. We let our kids choose one activity and then devote between an hour or so. (And if you are thinking you don’t have the time…well just pay attention to the rest of the story! You need to make the time!)
My wife and I have been hit and miss at best and honestly when we do make the time, we usually feel pretty rushed and try to get back home as quick as we can. I normally justify this with something lame like, “At least I’m trying”. Okay, that’s technically true, but who wants to live their lives “at least”?!
Anyway, last week, my only son and I were up for special time. He’s 10. I told him, “The sky’s the limit buddy.” He thought about it for awhile and said, “The mall.” I was a little taken aback. Not your typical father and son outing, but it was his choice so we got in the car and headed to hormone-Mecca.
We parked the car and I asked if there was anywhere in particular he wanted to go in the mall. He said, “Just follow me” and off we went. We ended up going to a tie store. I asked him why there and he said, “Well I just thought it would be cool if we had matching ties.” You see, I have to wear a tie everyday for my profession.
I was struck to the heart. “My son wants to be like me,” I thought. Wow! There is something unexplainably awesome about someone wanting to be like you, but when it is your son…well that’s just beyond anything that is unexplainably awesome. This realization opened up a whole new way of thinking for me. I realized that the time we spend together is limited. He’s growing up way too fast! As a matter of fact, I went to his 5th grade Maturation program today! Yikes…that’s a story for another day! I also realized that he may not always think I’m cool so I better get in all the special time I can now before he thinks he is too cool for his old man.
But the thing that I think was most powerful for me was the realization that I don’t listen to him as closely as I should. Usually I’m too caught up in my busy world to give him my undivided attention. His desire to be like me stopped me. For the rest of that night he had my undivided attention. I silenced my phone and I tuned the rest of the world out. I learned and heard and felt so many things that night with my son. I hope that it was the beginning of a new kind of parenting for me. I don’t want to miss anything!
Well, kind of mushy, but I hope that you took a look at your parenting style too and that you will consider giving a little more special time to your kids every day!