Sunday, 1 July 2012

Entering In

There have been more than a few times over the last 10 years when I have been extremely glad there is no big brother style webcam filming my every move. The things we find ourselves doing with our children when no-one else is around are laughable. Answering plastic telephones; crawling around on our hands and knees mooing or baa baaing; reading stories in ridiculous voices; playing tickle monster; looking for dinosaurs / crocodiles / fairies / sharks / monsters around every corner; fighting pretend pirate enemies with pretend swords ..... the list is truly endless. Why do we find ourselves doing these things? Is it just me or do other people actual enjoy these mindless games we play with our young children?

The reason we get ourselves into this situations is because we want to build relationships with our children. Why else would we make ourselves look so silly? We put aside our own preferences and we enter the world of our children. We forget our inhibitions in order to have fun and enjoy the growing friendship with our child.

This doesn't stop when they don't look for dinosaurs anymore. Whatever stage our children are at, our task is to enter their world. This is easier for some than for others. If you happen to enjoy the same things, you are one of the lucky ones. If, like me, you would rather be curled up reading a book than out in the middle of the woods on a cold day finding and identifying mushrooms, then you will understand what I am talking about. I know of mothers who hated football as girls but now spend their weekend mornings standing in the pouring rain at the side of the pitch, shouting encouragements to their sons. I know of fathers who have been covered in make up or had their fingernails painted and their hair styled.

It doesn't matter whether we enjoy these activities or not. What matters is that we are spending time with our children. It shows them that we enjoy their company. It validates their ideas and their identity. So often, children feel loved not by the amount of presents they have for birthdays or christmas, but by the amount of time we spend with them. Time is so important to them. Time shows them we value them. Sacrificial time shows them that we love them.

It's not easy. I have to battle through my irritation at standing next to yet another pond and skimming stones for hours at a time, but it is so important to my boys. It doesn't come naturally to me but if I don't spend that time with them, how will I ever know what they enjoy? How will I ever see the pleasure on their faces as they enjoy such simple delights? When will we laugh together or celebrate together? It's a choice that I have to make. Spending this time with them, whilst feeling sacrificial in the moment, is vital to the ongoing friendship that I have with my boys.

So, keep mooing, clucking, chasing fairies, standing on football pitches, playing with barbies, riding bikes, skimming stones, singing JLS songs (and that IS a sacrifice) and climbing trees. Let's make the choice to enter the world of our children, I am certain that we will reap the rewards in years to come.

No comments: