Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Eye to Eye, Shoulder to Shoulder

(My kids being silly on a recent trip to the zoo. I thought it would be make more interesting pictures if they imitated what we were looking at/photographing.)

I bet you already know what I am about to share. But just in case, I thought I would share it anyway. It was a great revelation to me. :) 

When my daughter and I need to have a serious talk, I can take her out to lunch and in perfect girl style we can sit face to face and have a wonderful time talking. No one had to teach me this because I am a girl too and this is how I thought everyone talked. Face to face, eye to eye. 

But, revelation of revelations, this is NOT how most men prefer to talk. They do their best talking and sharing shoulder to shoulder. The best way to have a heart to heart with your teen son is to take a walk or a drive. Speaking of drives, in the state of Maine you can't sit in the front unless you are 12 years old. I was so excited to see that day come for each of my kids. It's hard to talk when you're in the front and they're in the back! There's really nothing like a long drive with your son to ask those tough questions and actually get a heart answer. That's when you can find out where they're struggling, what's going well, what is not.

With my own teen boys, I also found that even better than being shoulder to shoulder is talking on the way home from a rigorous sports practice. All that exercise just gives them so much clarity! 

Now let me tell you a HUGE mistake I made with one of my kids when they were a preteen. This child would tell my husband and I endless made-up stories. For the most part it was great but there was no end to them and some days a mom gets tired (lame excuse). So I said (and I shudder to remember much less share), "If you can't talk to me about something REAL please STOP talking!!" To which the child said with a very devastated voice, "But I want to talk to you and don't know what to say!!!" Time. stood. still. I realized what an idiot I was.  I realized those stories were a bridge to that child talking to me when the teen years hit and the world turned upside down. I never again complained about the stories. And today I am glad. 

Might I add that there's nothing like having boys to teach you a thing or two about being married?! I learned that often my husband really IS listening to me even though he's not looking at me! But still often I'll remind him that I need "visual acceptance", as I call it. :) 

"Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2

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