I was talking with a father of a teen. He was struggling to establish a relationship with his daughter, so I asked him to tell me about her. He struggled to tell me her birthday, interests, likes, and dislikes. He tried to explain his difficulty learning and remembering this information. He seemed so uncomfortable that I changed the subject to sports. He sighed with relief as we discussed his favorite football players. He knew their weight, height, and age as well as their position, speed, college attended, completions, and other relevant stats.
As we talked, I had to ask, “How did you learn all this?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “I guess it just like it. It’s important to me. I enjoy the games.”
“Hmmm. Isn’t your daughter just as likable, important, and enjoyable?”
The fact is, we learn about those things we value. We learn about the things we enjoy. And, we value and enjoy our children. Even more, our children need us to learn the details, the stats, of their lives. If we don’t learn their stats, they will feel lonely, unimportant, and uninteresting. They will feel as though we don’t value them and love them. They will feel unloved. To put it another way, our children will feel loved as we learn and know the stats of their lives.
Guess who will teach you your children’s stats? That’s right. Your children will! They are the teachers and we are their students in learning the stats of their lives. So, become a good student by:
- Listening to the teacher. Listen closely as they talk about their lives. Listen to the stories that include their friends, their activities, their fears, their peers, their studies. Listen closely.
- Remembering the details. You may have to write some things down in a notebook to help you remember the constantly changing plays, players involved, and opponents. Call it your Children’s Stats notebook. Review the information now and again.
- Asking them about the details of their lives. Now that you know the stats of their lives, talk with your children about them. Ask them how that project for English is going. Ask about the argument they had with their friend. Ask them about things that interest them and how they are resolving various areas of discomfort. Then, as they answer, go back to #1 and start again. They will grow. The answers will evolve. The players, the plays, and the opponents will change. The goals will mature. With that in mind, go back to #1 and repeat: listen, remember, and ask.
At least two things will happen as you learn your children’s stats. One, your relationship with them will grow. They will feel loved by you and draw near to you. Two, you will enjoy your relationship with your children more. What’s not to love about that? Learn the stats.