A few weeks ago I got an app which reminds me every day to spend quality time with each kid. Combined with a book I’m reading on Agile Parenting I’ve been more focused and a better parent.
For example I asked both Max and Charlie to describe Christine and I as parents, and got some good insight. I asked them for suggestions to make the family better and Max suggested we bring back “appreciations” at family dinners, where we say something we appreciate or say something nice about someone.
But the COOLEST thing happened when I wasn’t around. This book I’m reading talks some about empowerment (which is why I require my kids to go to all their parent-teacher conferences starting in first grade), but it also talks about stories and fitting in. It talks about studies that focused on resilience adaptability, and children who are comfortable in their own skin… and how one of the threads in those studies is “Does a child know where they fit in a family?” and “Does their grandmother tell stories of ups and downs the family has had in the past?”
I shared this with Christine (because she’s a great storyteller and the kids always ask for stories) but being the smarty-pants she is she turned it around. Instead of TELLING the kids a story she ASKED Max and Charlie to each tell her something she doesn’t know about them. Then she asked them both to tell her something she doesn’t know about their time in Italy.
Charlie said “She regrets the first three months of wasted time in Italy”
Christine asked if Charlie wishes she went to the private school sooner, or if she wished she embraced the experience sooner.
And Charlie said “I wished I embraced the Italy experience sooner.”
Kind of humbling insight from an 11-year-old… and really exciting as a parent to see that we’ve created experiences that help our kids learn things that many college graduates STILL haven’t learned!