I had a HUGE a-ha moment in parenting yesterday and I thought it might help some of you here. Yesterday was an odd day, as both of my sons were out playing/hanging out with their friends and it was just me and my 10 year old daughter home. She was sitting at the kitchen table while I prepared dinner, and the house was (to me, at least) blissfully quiet. “What a perfect setting for her to finish her homework!” I thought.
However, as time went on, she kept getting up and playing with her hermit crab, getting a drink, looking for another snack, telling me something about her day. In a word, she was…distracted. I could hardly believe she was not capitalizing on the blessed (and rare) quiet that was in our house at that moment. I could feel my own frustration level rising, but before I let it get the best of me, I commented to her “why aren’t you using this wonderful quiet in the house right now to finish your homework?” She told me that it was actually too quiet and she couldn’t think. So I thought for a moment and asked her if she would like to listen to music while she worked, and she readily agreed. So I put the radio on and she literally finished her math homework in about three more minutes. I checked in and asked her if the music was helping and she enthusiastically said it was. In my world, I relish silence and quiet, downtime for my brain to think. But for her, growing up the middle of three kids, silence is a rare element of her world.
As I thought about it, I realized that no matter how well we know our kids, there is always something new to learn. And even though I work very hard at being a conscious parent myself, there are still times like this where I apply my ideas, my preferences, my agenda onto my children without even realizing it. That is why it is helpful to keep an open mind, staying inquisitive, and try not to resist the as-is of the moment. When you greet the moment with curiosity and acceptance, you can find some real gems hidden within it.
What have you learned about your child lately?