Last night, while watching an episode of Parenthood, I was reminded how important it is for me to not only invite my kids to come with me when I’m running errands and help me with various projects around the house, but to choose to join my kids right where they are, doing what they’re doing, expressing excitement when they’re excited.
Sometimes this is easy. When one of my kids saves their money and is able to purchase something they’ve had their eye on for some time, I can quickly join in their excitement and express how proud I am to see them save and patiently wait to make their purchase. When my oldest son uses his imagination to create something totally new from his stock pile of Legos, I can share in his joy and spend time taking in what he has created.
However, I have a much more difficult time getting jazzed when my youngest son takes the time to find me in my office to show me a pair of jeans that his Mom just bought him at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. He was absolutely thrilled to have such a treasure and proceeded to skip his way out of my office with a big smile on his face. Despite his obvious joy and complete happiness, for some reason my first response wasn’t to jump up and down and pass out high-fives and exploding fist bumps.
But I want it to be.
I want to put myself in their shoes, no matter how small they may be, and join them in their excitement. I want to choose to get pumped about whatever it is they bring to me, no matter how big or small it might seem.
When it comes to my kids, it’s not about proving to them that I’m an adult and I’m above these things. They don’t need to be reminded of that. What they need from me is genuine interest in the things that they find important.
And who knows, perhaps I’ll learn to not take myself so seriously and enjoy these moments to become like a child again. I can’t imagine I’ll come to the end of my life wishing I hadn’t taken the time to become the fool with my kids over their new pair of pants or that coloring project that is so very colorful, and yet completely elusive when it comes to knowing what it is.
Here’s to joining our kids right where they are.