Lately, I’ve been connecting with and hearing stories from parents, who I consider to have incredible relationships with their kids throughout the high school/college years and into adulthood. There is depth, communication, and joy in these relationships. On top of that, they actually look like they enjoy being around one another!
We all know there is plenty of unhealthy forms of this, but this isn’t that type of relationship. I know that many of us desire this type of relationship, but you might be wondering like I did…“How did you guys do that?”
Andy Stanley, pastor of Northpoint Church, said he and his wife had these two goals in regards to their family life together:
1. We want to enjoy each other when the kids are gone.
2. When our kids are grown, we want them to want to be together, and with us, when they don’t have to be.
YES! That’s it. Simple, yet these take some work to accomplish.
Connecting with your child takes intentionality. There’s a rhythm there, a pace, a consistency that your child can rely on. Maybe it’s at the dinner table. Maybe it’s every Saturday morning. It looks different for different families.
But there has been a common theme in the stories I’ve heard from the parents I mentioned earlier—it’s not just a one-time thing. It can’t be. I think this article will help you think about it in a new way.
By Reggie Joiner
It takes a quantity of quality time spent together to create a rhythm of connecting in your family. And the simple reason that it takes quantity of quality time is because significant moments are unpredictable. Most of us want to be there when our baby takes the first step, or our daughter makes her first basketball goal, or our son wins an award, or our child asks an important question. But you just never know when significant moments are going to happen.
If you hope to be present for the significant moments, then you will have to be present for the seemingly insignificant moments.
It’s like when I try to catch a picture of lightning. It’s a tricky thing for a photographer to shoot lightning. You can’t take the shot when you see the light. At that point it’s really too late. By the time you press the shutter release you have already missed it.
The best strategy is to set the camera to continuously shoot, so that it actually stands a better chance of opening the shutter before the lightning strikes. Sure you will get a lot of insignificant photos that way, but it’s probably the only chance you have of catching some incredible moments.
Kids and lightning have a lot in common. If you want to experience some extraordinary moments with your children, then you have to be there for a lot of ordinary moments.
Looking back I am grateful that…
I limited my travel schedule away from home when my kids were young.
I rarely missed attending a school, athletic or church event with them.
I worked to keep my schedule flexible when they were teenagers.
I learned to do those things just in case something came up (and it almost always did).
I’ve never met an older mom or dad, who said, “Yeah if had it to do all over again, I’d spend less time with my kids, and more time doing other things.” They seem to always say just the opposite.
“I wish I had spent more time with my kids …”
Just remember it’s easy to miss a lightning bolt. It happens fast—then it’s gone.
The best way to catch unpredictable moments with your children is to be predictable with how you spend time together.
From www.orangeparents.org. Reprinted with permission. © 2010 Orange.
If you have a great story to share or a rhythm that worked for your family to accomplish this, please share it with us in the comments!