“SPEND TIME WITH YOUR CHILDREN NOW, one on one. Listen to them; understand them. Look at your home, at school life, at the challenges and the problems they’re facing, through their eyes. Build the Emotional Bank Account. Give them psychological air.” Steven Covey Daily Reflections for Highly Effective People.
As parents of grown children this quote feels like it is a little late. On the other hand, I feel that we did spend time with our children, quite a lot of time and loved every second. I feel a major failing however was that we did not really understand their problems through their eyes, we were way too quick to try and help them solve their problems or challenges and give them advice from our years of experience, rather than letting them sort it out for themselves.
Both our kids have turned out to be fantastic human beings who are both loving and caring people; they will end up making great contributions in their own ways to society. I am very proud of them both. Looking back, would I have done things differently? Well yes most certainly! Hindsight always provides some wisdom you did not have at the time.
The advice that Steven Covey suggests above about listening and understanding your children is great advice and no matter how old they are it is never too late to start that. Other than that, I might have laid off a bit on the very busy scheduled activities and allowed more time for just play and exploring creative avenues rather than being coached all of the time.
We did not force our kids to do any one activity. We did encourage them (strongly) not to quit something in the middle of a season or course. We did however, present them with opportunities and they said yes to most of them. Do you want to figure skate, do you want to play piano, do you want to play hockey. What if we had decided to pass on the soccer or the baseball or the…?
All the activity was great, and I don’t think the kids regret it, but it did lead to very busy lives with lots of travel time and not much time to learn and solve problems on their own. I sometimes wonder how it would have been different, how would they be different? Competition and sports are things they both enjoy today and helped them develop in to fine young well-rounded adults. And, we’re giving them every opportunity to now solve problems on their own.