“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
You don’t have to be an expert to get it right. You hear me?
All an expert is, is someone who has discovered one way of solving a problem. Not the only way. For sure, those experts who have your best interests at heart, rather than those who just want to make a quick buck are always going to help you achieve your best. But you know what? All they’re going to do is take you through a series of steps to help you get from A to B. Simple. So simple, in fact, that you can do it yourself. (Am I doing myself out of a job here?)
What I’m trying to say is that sometimes we put off doing what we know we need to do, in the hope that some BIG person will come along and tell us to do what we knew we needed to do in the first place. Weird sometimes, aren’t we? We’re also hoping that they will come along with a magic wand and put everything to rights, as if there’s one secret thing we need to learn and then, hey presto! Our journey’s over. (Experts can be good signposts if we’ve lost our way, but they can’t walk the journey for us. Unfortunately, those sore feet and blisters belong to us, I’m afraid, not them.) So, what would our home and family relationships look like if we actually did, every day, the things we know we should do? Not the things we feel we ought to do, but those things our heart whispers to us that we so easily ignore.
For me, it’s taking the time to listen. To stop what I’m doing and look my child in the eyes so that I hear him with my whole being. I don’t honestly understand a lot of what he says – it’s full of Minecraft ‘mobs’ or Pokémon ‘evolvances’, interspersed with, “Mum, if you could have a super power, what would it be?” I may not be able to answer all his questions, and follow all the amazing twists of his imagination. But I want him to know that I care. That I care about his world. Occasionally I get invited into it.
I sit on his bed, Xbox controller in hand – no clue how it works, (no coherent explanation given, you understand. Oh no! Time’s far too important to waste on things like giving instructions), and no idea what I’m doing. Sometimes I just watch; amused at his manual dexterity and his mastery of fantasy/futuristic/ancient Egyptian building techniques, but totally unable to keep up with his high-speed commentary. Eventually, my brain addled like a beaten egg, I retreat to the quietest room I can find – yes, the bathroom does count! But my son’s bright shiny eyes when I first entered his room showed me how much this means to him. How this was the right thing to do – to connect and give my time – the right step to take today. The many thousands more that distinguish our journey will all be taken. One. At. A. Time.
What one step will you take this week that you know – in your heart, not your head – you need to take to be a more connected parent?