Many years ago, our oldest daughter ran up to Trevor and literally attached herself to his right leg – mind you she was only about six years old at the time! Trevor had been working in Sydney for a number of weeks, and had just arrived back at Adelaide airport. We drove to the airport to collect him and upon seeing him, our daughter’s face lit up with a huge smile, and she went running at him full speed. She didn’t stop to gather her thoughts, but just threw herself at Trevor, wrapping both arms and legs around the part of him she could reach – his leg, and there she stayed as we attempted to walk out of the airport.
Children are and should be an absolute delight to their parents – they see the marvels of the world in a way that we have forgotten how. Walt Streightiff once said “There are no seven wonders of the word in the eyes of a child. There are seven million!”
From the very moment of their birth, they depend upon us for almost everything. Naturally when they are small infants, we give them what they need to sustain them: liquid to drink, food to eat, clothes to wear, a bed to sleep in, a house to live in, an education to guide them, and of course, money to spend!
But they need so much more that oftentimes we fail to provide for them properly. I recently heard of a survey that looked at how much time the average dad spent with his child per day in quality one-on-one time (not including things that have to be done for, or to that child). The survey revealed the father gave less than one minute per day to that child. Even worse, another one said that children spend less time playing outside than prison inmates!
We have written about this is the past, and we think we need to keep mentioning it because unfortunately many parents are still not listening.
When was the last time you as a parent made a conscious decision to just be there for your child, to talk with them, not at them? When was the last time you had a day out with your child doing what they really wanted to do? As ours were growing up, Trevor and I realised that due to his busy work schedule, he was missing out on important quality time with the kids, and so he began talking them out individually on alternate weekends. Just one of them, and Trevor, doing what the child wanted to do! Believe me, it was a strange sensation at first for all of them: the child normally being told what to do, and where to go by the parent, now being totally reversed with the child in full control of that day. It turned out to be a lot of fun for them all, and I’m sure of great worth to each child in teaching them some independence and leadership skills.
Regardless of your child’s age, make a decision now to prove that survey wrong in your life. Look for opportunities to be with your children from an early age. Even if you feel unsure of what to do – do it anyway. In fact, when ours were very young, I discovered that I really didn’t have to plan anything. If I just made the time available, the children would soon tell me what they wanted to do, and all I had to do was join in: sipping pretend cups of tea from a doll’s pink plastic tea set, building unstable Lego houses for toy soldiers, water fights on a hot summer’s night, drawing everything from animals to spaceships, shaping play dough into pretend creatures, playing marbles indoors and outdoors, telling stories (especially ones you can make up as you go along that have different endings every time you tell them), dressing dolls for pretend birthday parties, and racing tiny cars on a racetrack wound around the dining table legs.
A child’s imagination is so fertile that all you generally have to do is turn up and be available – they will do the rest.
So please, can we encourage you this week to think about the quality time your spend with your kids, and make a determined effort to be there more often for them all.
Living each adventure,
Christine and Trevor
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Adelaide, South Australia.
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DISCLAIMER: This article is written for informational purposes only and is based on Christine and Trevor’s own life experiences. No food featured on this site should ever be consumed or handled if known or suspected allergies exist. Nothing featured here should be taken as medical, professional or legal advice. It is always recommended that you consult the appropriate professional before changing any routine or adopting any new procedure.