Who has the “real quality time” with my kids? Not me. Not my wife. I judge quality time with my kids as “time where we are not: directing each other, criticizing each other, feeling pressure, being judged, or in some “learning lesson mode parent-to-child”.
I thought about the dynamics of being a kid and realized that I spent a great deal of time with them in a “parental guidance mode” and realized I had more discussions about “life” with the neighbors’ kids than with mine. Not for lack of trying, but I just never seemed to break out of “the perception of parent”.
My kids had expectations of me when I talked to them: they expected me to be “Dad”. I did the same when I was a kid, “my parents were parents”. I did not have many “random musing about life” discussions with my dad and mom in my formative years. However, I seem to remember having more “worldly open ended talks” with the neighbors than we did within our own family. I always perceived Mom and Dad as my parents, and when presented with an opportunity for discussion, they kept trying to turn it into “a life’s lesson learning time”. Well, so be it, that’s the way life was growing up, right!
That ended one day last month when UPS delivered a box from my dad. He is a writer and world speaker in personal growth workshops. He sent our family the game of connection Do Tell Family edition. I am talking now with guyMystique about my new happiness, and the awakening to family quality time with my kids and others can be had just by playing this game.
What’s unique about this Do Tell experience for me? First, we schedule the family playtime. Opening up the game and setting out the board sets a mood, a safe space for sharing and talking, and being ourselves. We all seem to get to know each other a little more as people together on the same planet, than in our parental and child and sibling roles. Anyway, it works for me. My wife took this picture as she was so happy to get to see another side of me. I am happy because I actually got to relate “growing up stories” to my kids, and hear what’s going on right now with them, in their real-life. Had this technology existed when we were kids back there would be a whole new generation of people who communicate with each other “better” in the world today.
Resources: I am recalling much of Ben’s story and retelling it in his voice. As I heard this story originally I found his excitement contagious and wanted to share it “from his perspective” to keep the excitement hot. As a father myself, I find it rather compelling. guyMystique