I spend hours working with them on school, cooking, cleaning and group activities. I drive them to classes and appointments. If someone would do a survey (and I am sure they have) about the hours a parent spends talking with their children, I would probably be in the top 1%.
|I think this is the clock of my nightmares|
The problem is that I spend that time teaching, cleaning, cooking, doing computer, reading a book, or lying on my bed exhausted, hoping for a cat-nap. I don't spend enough time getting to know who they are on the inside. I focus on their academic and spiritual growth, their behaviors, their responsibilities, and their relationships with others. I don't ask them often enough what their hopes and dreams are. I don't spend enough one on one time with each of them.
I was reminded of this on Friday when Hannah asked me to take her out to buy a dress for her upcoming swing dance. My husband was home, so I was able to leave the other kids with him. Hannah and I talked as she checked out dresses. We laughed as she tried on accessories. We chit-chatted as she got her eyebrows waxed for the first time. It was a wonderful evening--and it made me think.
|All ready for the dance!|
Why don't I do this more often? I guess in all the busyness of spending time with the kids I forget to spend time with each of the kids. My excuse is just as lame as the workaholic parent's. There is no valid excuse.
So I am recommitting, as of today, to spend time each week building relationship with my kids. No, I won't be taking them out on a "date with mommy night"--at least not very often. But I will find that little bit of time away from life's responsibilities, away from the distractions that keep us busy.
I will purposefully give them my attention and take the time to talk about the things they want to talk about. I will encourage them through smiles and eye contact. I will make sure all of me is there when we talk. I won't just give them my leftover time when I am exhausted and drained.
After all, they are so much more important to me than an extra ten minutes of math, or perfectly dusted furniture.
So what have you done lately to build relationship with your children? I'd love to hear your ideas.