I have three kids, ages 6, 11 and 14. Each is a unique and individual representation of their mother and father’s DNA. Moreover, each of my kids possesses their own likes, dislikes, interests, dreams and desires. As dad, I tend to gravitate to certain connections with my kids. With my son, sports take on a dominant emphasis, with my younger girl it’s a love for reading and make believe. With my older daughter we love to discuss current events and politics. This idea of personal connections with my kids got me thinking about the depth and quality of the connections that I do have and those that I should foster.
If my relationship with my kids is to be one that is fruitful and meaningful, it stands without reason that my connections be broad and varied. To only connect with my kid on one front, is to limit my influence and the impact I make on them and them on me.
The number of seven connections has become something of a challenge for me. I began by asking myself, “Do I have seven unique connections with each child? Something that gives us reason to share and connect on a regular basis?” Here is what I came up with by child:
MacKenna (age 14)
1. We love to discuss current events and news
2. Music (we love to listen to and share music)
3. Comedy (we love to watch SNL or listen to comedians)
4. Football (while MacKenna does not play sports much she loves football and has a great understanding for the game)
5. Nature and Animals (Identifying animals, sharing stories about animals is something we have in common)
6. Swimming (We love to swim in the pool and the lake)
7. Studying Together (I often am the one that helps her study for quizzes and tests. It’s actually fun)
Peyton (age 11)
1. Sports (I coach him in a variety of sports)
2. Music (Again shared between us)
3. Athletic Games (sounds like sports right?)
4. Talking about Sports…
5. Math (He loves it, I pretend to)
Hadley (age 6)
1. Dance (We both share this passion and are very good I must say)
2. Reading Books Together
3. Playing Hide and Go Seek (seems trivial, but we love it and have perfected the art)
4. Pretending or Playing Make Believe (She is a pro, I am her pawn but it works)
5. Swimming (Like her older sister we love the water)
Well there you go. Given the task of connecting on seven items for each kid, I am undoubtedly falling short on a few. With MacKenna, I suspect I have had longer to develop some connections than her younger siblings. With Peyton I am probably lacking in a little bit of variety. Sports obviously dominates our connections.
The point here for me at least is I need to develop more and varied connections with my kids. Frankly it won’t come easy because we tend to fall into natural or regular connections. Nevertheless, providing alternate ways to connect with my kids gives greater meaning and substance to our relationships.
So my challenge to you is to sit down and write out the regular connections you have with your kids. Can you come up with seven, five, or three? Are those connections varied in scope? If there is a need to create a regular connection with your kid, come up with something creative and something that the two of you would really get in to. I think its a great opportunity to intentionally add depth to your relationship with your kid and just another way to become a better parent.
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