Another busy evening filled with youth sports left my husband running with our son and me running with our daughter. Before leaving the house, we agreed we would fend for ourselves for dinner. Challenge accepted! I love dine out night – no clean up required! #MomWinning
After my daughter’s dance class, we decided to stop by our favorite hamburger joint. We ordered our usual, got our drinks & began scanning the dining room to choose our seat. As we got settled into our booth, I noticed a set of parents with their teenage son sitting off to our right, and another set of parents with their teenage daughter sitting in the distance to our left. On this particular Monday night, the rest of the restaurant was empty so while I’m not a fan of eavesdropping, it was difficult not to overhear the conversations occurring.
The teenage son was in the midst of making his spring break pitch to his parents for his senior year of high school – a trip to Florida with his buddies. His parents were listening intently, asking him periodic questions to which he would respond very respectfully. Over the course of the conversation, I never heard the parents give him a definite answer, but they were being active listeners and respectful to his position. You could sense a strong bond that they all had between each other. It was comforting. Loving. Trusting. And although I had never seen these people in my life until five minutes prior, I could already pick up on this sense they were emitting.
The conversation on the left-hand side of us was anything but. It was a sad scene, in my humble opinion. A mother, father and teenage daughter all on their smartphones. Not much of a flowing conversation at all. Eventually, the topic of politics came up which sent the daughter scoffing and rolling her eyes at her parents who, as far as she was concerned, would never understand who she was as a person.
As I watched my sweet four-year-old daughter eating her ice cream, completely oblivious to either of these families sitting near us, it occurred to me that the time to act is now as to how I want my relationship to look like with my kids. If I wanted my relationship to mimic that of the teenage daughter’s table, I didn’t really need to worry about anything. But if I wanted my relationship to look like that of the family with the teenage son, then I needed to take heed starting today, because a relationship like that doesn’t develop overnight. Spending quality time together, doing activities together, and developing healthy communication habits now, at the the ages of 4 and 6, will make all the difference down the road.