Monday, April 11, 2011

Keeping Open Communication With Your Kids

One of the most popular posts to date here on Family Strong has been Aaron's The Man Cave: Calling Grandpa Out. I have been thinking of his words in that post lately, "Some things on my list are urgent...and mostly have to do with the things in my life. Others are important....these usually have to do with the people in my life. I think a real man of action and purpose is one that budgets his time well enough that the urgent stuff never tramples over the important stuff." I would like to expand on this thought.

We are all busy and as the kids get older the to-do list changes. When our kids were small things like making lunches, homework, mother-helper appointments, and cleaning house were at the top of my list. As they have gotten a little older and can help carry the load around the house a little more, my list has evolved to add a few more personal items; more hours to work, exercise, and focus on my music have also been added to cleaning the house and doing the laundry. My schedule is busy to say the least, but most of the things I have just mentioned fall into the "urgent" category. It is all stuff that really needs to get done, but sometimes there are just things that are more important.

I have always kept an extremely open line of communication with my kids. Ever since they were little I have tried to make them feel like what they had to say was important to me and that they could talk to me about anything. If at any time they needed to talk, I would drop what I was doing so that they knew I was listening and cared about what they had to say. Just as my to-do list has evolved over the years, the things my kids need to talk about has as well. Things like bullies, mean teachers, bad grades and who-said-what-at-school has been replaced with relationships, life choices and job stress. The point is, because I had established that line of communication with them early on they  have come to rely and trust on it now when the topics of their lives are much more important.

There are many times when I have to set aside that long to do list, sit down with one of my children and give them the time that they need to talk. Yes, we really could use some clean underwear, and the dishes are starting to pile up in the sink, but those things will just have to wait until a later time: I am doing something much more important.

picture taken from the website: Finding One's Way

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