It is not knew for me to feel that I learn a lot with my kids. I’ve always loved being a Dad with them and learning about that. I’ve also always loved being a soul-traveller with them. The adventures we have together in regular day to day life often offer some of the most reaching and important teachings I experience and need in broader life. Here’s some picked up this weekend in our together time.
From Zoe, fifteen years old — offer something that feeds a relationship.
This comes from awareness of her full and engaged teenaged life. Friends to be with. She is alive and excited in her social life, being with a growing group of male and female friends. She has many commitments — church service, piano, homework. She can be busy each and every minute of the day. And often is. In my hunger to honor where she is, and support the depth of our relationship, I find myself inviting her to offer something that feeds the time that we have together. Some deliberateness of time. Some deliberateness of attention. Something amidst all of the busyness of a full and vibrant life. What a gift to feel my heart longing for our special connections and to find myself reawakened to the broader principle of offering something to feed the relationships I am in.
From Isaac, thirteen years old — be curious.
In the last month, I’ve had several different friends and colleagues stay at my home. Edgard Gouveia Jr. from Brazil and the Berkana Exchange network, Steve Ryman from the Art of Hosting Community of Practice, Thomas Arthur from Earthanima. With each I’ve noticed myself looking for a simple way that I could support Isaac in interacting with them. What is it that I could say to him that would help him to feel at ease with them so that he can enjoy so much of what I love in these friends, and, so that they can enjoy so much of what I love in Isaac. Isaac is naturally quite good at this — just be curious. Ask them about who they are, what it’s like to be them, what it’s like where they live, etc. He has such a kind heart. What a gift to see him in his simple curiosity, building friendships.
Elijah, five years old — it’s ok to pause.
Elijah is this fantastic five year old. So ready for engagement. So much wanting to play. So much appreciating friends. He has a kind of hunger that is beautiful to be in so much engagement. He wants to play a game. Great. It often seems before the game is complete, he’s asking about being able to play it again or about playing another game. The same with eating. Before completing a meal, he often asks about another meal. Or dessert. He’s like a lot of what I remember with Zoe and Isaac at this age of life. I find myself sharing with Elijah, in his excitement of life (and in my fatigue sometimes as Dad), that a pause is a good thing. It’s ok to pause. It’s good to honor the completion of one thing before needing to launch into another. Thank you Elijah for helping me to remember this in all of the projects that I’m a part of.
Offer something. Be curious. Pause. Good teachers, these beautiful kids that I get to journey with in this life.