As parents we all search for ‘just-the-right-words‘.
We want to be GREAT parents, not mediocre – C+ parents. We work hard to get our kids the best. We pray for God to grant us the wisdom and the insight to really truly see our tweens and reach deep down to their hearts with our love. But somewhere along the path from good intentions to real life we get sidetracked.
Sometimes it feels like we get “bushwhacked” 🙂
Our best efforts can become fumbled attempts at connecting, and their resistance frustrates and we back away discouraged, hurt and confused by the whole strange metamorphosis. What was planned out to be so ‘perfect’ becomes oddly strangled by circumstances, hormones and misunderstandings until our special moment de-evolves into a mess of strained silence and awkward pauses.
As I get older, (45 as I write) I can reflect more accurately about what my three tweens taught me. Each of them with their own special gifts and challenges, but each were bound together by one common denominator as kids…they loved being with me.
Time alone with dad…
If you were to ask them now, they would tell you; it wasn’t the gush of advice I shared. (those ‘wise teaching talks from dad…cornering them in the car on the way to school to instill them with my wisdom :)…. they would tell you; it wasn’t my insightful recommendations for their college educations or who would be wiser to date. No, I believe it wasn’t really the words that made the big difference, it was my personal time… “the silent moments” spent only with them that made the biggest impact on their lives.
The comfortable quiet of life;
Sitting with my girls on the old leather couch while they worked on homework, watched the Gilmore Girls and text-ed their fellows.
Driving on a Sunday afternoon across the winding hills of central Tennessee, Switchfoot on the car stereo as we hummed along to the words, wind in our hair and sonic milkshakes on our lips.
The time spent in loving companionship is so underrated.
It’s in those moments of total luxurious isolation, no mobile calls or connections… no next appointment rush, just an afternoon or day to spend with my kids. Listening, watching… loving. No big talk, no serious conversation.
Just the effort of will to push aside those “other’ things for them was key. I think it was in “the silence” of our time together, that’s when we really effectively ‘speak ‘love’ to our kids.
Road Trips are my passion, they can be an hour or a month, from your house to the mall and back or across a continent. I don’t know what your passion is… but share it with your kids. It will be so much better than finally finding those, ‘just-the-right-words’.
PS – here is a great and inspiring line from a classic song by Switchfoot,
“Adding to the Noise”
“What’s it gonna take
to slow us down
to let the silence spin us around?
What’s it gonna take
to drop this town?
We’ve been spinning at the speed of sound.”