Today I want to share with you a very personal parenting moment
I had with my daughter this afternoon.
This weekend I was volunteering for Future Aces – a youth organisation.
We went to Horseshoe Valley Resort to do some program design.
There was a group of about 20 of us working on creating
learning activities for young people
to empower them and teach them about positive character attributes.
My daughter came with me and hung out for the two days.
There were a lot of younger kids as well
and she helped the other volunteers looking after them.
I’m Late For An Important Date
During lunch of the second day the two of us were eating together
and laughing and enjoying ourselves as we always do.
Suddenly I looked at the clock and it was 12:13 p.m.
Our time to reconvene was 12:15 p.m.
At that moment my daughter said that she wanted to get her hat and jacket out of the car.
I fished the key out of my pocket and handed it to her
so she could get them for herself.
She asked me if I would walk her to the car.
The only reason she wanted me to walk her to the car
Was because she likes my company and
wanted to spend a little more time with me.
What a blessing this is.
Feeling The Stress And Old Habits
When she asked me that I felt the pull of being late and needing to get back to the group.
The thought went through my head
“I cannot walk you there because I don’t have time.
The others are waiting for me and I have to get back to work.
I have a responsibility to them.”
She is 18 years old and is perfectly capable of walking to the car
and getting her hat and coat herself.
Conscious Parenting Questions
Thankfully the habits I have developed over the past 18 years asserted themselves
and I asked myself the following questions:
Do I love Future Aces more than my daughter?
Do I love the people I’m working with more than my daughter?
Do I love this program and process I am working on more than my daughter?
With that realization I turned to her and said
“My darling it would be my most wonderful pleasure
to walk you to the car, nothing would make me happier.”
We walked arm in arm to get her hat and coat.
Honouring My Heart’s Priorities
I felt so deeply fulfilled by this change in perception.
Recognizing my true heart’s priority as a father and as a human being
and acting on it is an experience of joy and authenticity beyond measure.
Even as I write this I feel tears welling up in my eyes
at the simple beauty of this moment.
This kind of experience, repeated over and over,
brings such a depth of connection and trust to a relationship.
Developing a Deep and Trusting Relationship Is Vital
This trust has such powerful benefits in day to day living.
It has even more power when things get difficult.
When hard decisions need to be made,
when trauma, struggle or strife come her way
the foundation of connection that we have developed
makes her see me as the most trustable and safe place to turn.
This is a major part of the reason I do these things.
Looking to the deeper and more long term effects of my decisions.
The Traditional Approach Touches The Surface Only
The more common response might have been to say
that I need to teach her about responsibility,
respect for other people’s time
and dedication to whatever work you may be doing.
Saying no to her in the traditional view would be teaching her these things.
When I compare the lessons and connection that she learned
through the choice I made to these other potential lessons
the choice to me continues to be very clear.
Demonstrating love, loyalty and respect to her
inspires her to do the same to the people she loves.
Creating a New Habit Isn’t Easy
Making these kinds of decisions consistently is not easy at first.
It requires a consistent attention to a new priority.
It also requires the effort of turning away from the old habits that we have.
You can see that even after 18 years of parenting this way
my old habits still assert themselves.
I have slowly trained myself to have the new habits assert themselves
more strongly so I make choices directly in line with my values.
Persist Against All Odds
So don’t give up.
If you choose to try a different way of relating to your kids you will find that the habit eventually takes solid form inside of you and soon both of your lives and your relationship will transform.