Today I am starting this blog with the sincerest hope that you are having a good day.
Wow! Intentionality is powerful! I started my New Year with the intention of being as sincerely positive as I can.
But that requires making an effort. Happiness is sometimes a turtle walking slowly toward us and sometimes a wave crashing over us so fast we almost miss the emotion. But either way, the problem is that if we wait for the turtle or the wave, happiness may come but not as fast as if we herald it.
So what does this have to do with kids? Everything. It is my observation that as our children become older, we forget to really “watch” them. We are so relieved to not change diapers, wake up at two am, or stop the car because our newly potty trained kid needs to go to the bathroom, again.
Sometimes I feel this exodus from parenting teenagers so strongly that I half expect Moses to appear to help the fleeing parents part a body of water for their faster escape.
And that’s a shame because beginnings of autonomy is not independence, and as much as they resemble adults they are not. Teens still need parents but what happens frequently in this transitional period is that the only communication between kids and their parents is filled with conflict.
Parent laments: “They don’t talk.” “They don’t want to be with us.” “I don’t understand them.”
And it’s true, most adolescents have not learned the life long skill of excellent communication, and most of them have NO ability to facilitate relationships with non teens. And they shouldn’t. Adults are the teachers and parents in their world. So sadly, much of what I observe is that the only communication that happens between teens and their parents is when something needs to be corrected, when a parent is disappointed, when an infraction has happened. We don’t mean it, but we have become people no one would voluntarily talk to.
And that’s where intentions and Scooby come in. Parents HAVE to pay attention to their teens, even though it’s frustrating, many times unrewarding, and confusing. We have to monitor their safety, discuss morality, and hopefully guide them to being their best selves.
Which is a long way to say that we have to have the intention of catching them at some good stuff in between the yuck. I’m not talking about achievements, I’m talking about a moment when they smiled instead of putting their bothersome brother in the microwave. A turtle moment, something that could be missed because it’s expected, and didn’t need correction.
Surprise yourself. Pay attention and quietly tell your kids that you’re proud that they did their homework last night, or that you are really relieved that they drive to school safely everyday.
You’ll be surprised. You both will. And this isn’t just something we can do for our children, we can do it for each other. Being nice is as much environmental as it is genetic. It just requires choice.
Thank you for reading my blog, I am touched that you take important minutes out of your day to share my thoughts and hopes for our children. I think you are amazing.