You & Your Kids: Finding That Common Denominator!


Basketball season is upon us and while I could spend an exuberant amount of time going deep into the analytics of the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise and why it is destined for greatness under the leadership of the young rookie, Luka Doncic, I am going to do my best to turn this conversation more towards the broader subject that I am hoping to dive into today! I have been bouncing ideas back and forth in my mind about what my next blog post should discuss and it seemed obvious that one such subject should be how we as parents need to find a common denominator with our children. What I mean by this is that we should be searching for that common interest between our children and ourselves! Finding that common thread of interest that you can share with your little one can build a wonderful bridge of strength in your relationship with them and allow you to serve as a positive and gravitationally significant influence in their life far into the future.

Every single child in the world and known universe is a unique force to be reckoned with! They are full of relentless energy, unyielding curiosity, and at times terrifying wisdom for how little time they have spent on this Earth. It seems that they are born “woke” to the world, picking apart the details surrounding them from day one and able to find joy in almost any situation. They don’t come into the world defeated by a potentially unjust world or dissatisfied by what hasn’t been made available to them. They smile and laugh at us, the adults who act as if we have it all figured it out. As parents we want to give our children everything in life that we think they need to succeed but often times I think the thing that children need the most that they may be lacking, is a solid relationship with their parents. Too often I see disengaged parents who end up putting the rat race, the chase for money, a busy job or work life, ahead of their children’s need and desire to have time with Mom or Dad. For single or divorced parents, sometimes it can be the pursuit of a significant other that gets in the way of you remembering to take the extra time with your kids to ensure that they feel loved and involved in your life. Whatever it is that may be taking your time and attention; Do your best to hit the hard reset button and set aside free space for your kids. Setting aside some extra time to spend with your children in each day will help you ensure as parents, that your children know exactly how much you care about them. It gives them absolute that you are always available for them, ready to address any need. Establishing that foundation early on gives your kids the confidence to know that they can always rely on you as a parent and as they get older, will help you to maintain a strong and balanced relationship as parent and child.

How can we as parents build up that relationship and communicate to our children that we are interested and engaged in their life? Find that common denominator!! It is easy to try and push our children into our same interests and hobbies when they are young but just know that as they get older and more independent, so will they start to develop their own interests.

 As a Dad who is deeply involved in music and has been playing cello and guitar from a young age, music is stitched into the very fiber of my being. I spent years refining my craft as I grew older and have never let that passion slip away. Taking countless music theory classes, ear training classes, Jazz Band, Honors Orchestra, and more, all in pursuit of becoming the best musician I could possibly be!

Now that I’m a Dad, it is my absolute dream that my daughter shows a keen interest in music as I did at a young age so that I can fan the flames of that fire. However, I also have to keep in my mind that my daughter may not have the same interest in music as I did. She may be more focused on a sport, writing, art, or something that I have not even thought of yet. I will say that my daughter seems to really enjoy percussion and piano. I’m highly considering getting her a miniature drum set as she really enjoys listening to music, clapping her hands, and patting anything that produces a noise. I play a lot of acoustic and electric guitar and have always needed a reliable drummer in my life to record songs with. So I’m saving a spot in my band for my daughter and keeping my fingers crossed!

Whatever it is that your children show a proclivity towards I believe that it isn’t just our responsibility to give them an opportunity to explore those areas, but is also our job as parents to get equally excited and involved in those subjects! If it is math of all things (this is definitively not my area of expertise) then I suggest we as parents better get to work with our flash cards! Odds are your child will quickly exceed you in their area of excitement and passion and leave you behind in the dust. But showing them that you care enough to learn about their interests and want to actively participate in it with them is such a huge step! Having a wonderful grandmother who not only encouraged that I play cello, but would play the piano with me and teach me songs gave me so much energy to further pursue my interest! It fueled the fire of my interest in music! Her words of encouragement created a bond between us with that common thread of music established her as a strong voice in my life. I became confident in our relationship and leaned on her in times of trouble or misunderstanding. Out of our shared interest in music grew one of the strongest relationships of my life. It lead to more areas of our lives becoming intertwined and enabled our relationship to flourish.

Looking back on my own childhood, I was always consistent in my interests and passions that I pursued. I loved to play basketball, I loved to write, and I loved to play and create music. Not all kids will be so singularly focused when it comes to pursuing an interest. Be prepared for the fact that one year they may want to be an astronaut and the next they may want to be a scuba diver. As a parent it isn’t always our job to tell them what is realistic and what is not. Sometimes we must simply be positive forces of encouragement and let them learn the necessary lessons in life that will help shape their opinions and decisions. I say all the time that if I could go back and restart my degree, I’d immediately dive into computer science. Had my parents or other adult influences made that same suggestion to 18 year old me, I probably would have ignored it. While we want to do our best to guide and lead our children we have to be realistic about the fact that moments will arise where they have to make a bad decision in order to educate themselves on how real life works. If only we could take all of our life lessons and download them from our brains to be uploaded into our children’s! But unfortunately that isn’t the case.

 All we can do is talk to our kids, encourage their interests, and do our best to have a hand in shaping the direction of their life by being an active participant in what they care about! As parents this is the gateway to having a stronger influence over our children’s decision making process. It gives us more sway and ability to communicate with them and unlocks a window that allows us a better understanding of their perception of the world. Helping them to find that core interest that will define their passions and pursuit in life will give them confidence to conquer new arenas in life and give you the confidence that you have raised wonderful children who will eventually grow up to be well rounded adults! Keep searching for that common denominator between you and your children. Your love and effort with your children may seem to go unnoticed at times but I believe that children are far more aware then we tend to give them credit for. Putting in that extra time and effort can lead to more respect from your kids as well as you appreciating your children further and becoming more aware of their growth and positive change over time.

For those of you with the little ones who are closer in age to my own daughter (~ 14 months), just be present with your kids. It’s easy to get caught up in the evenings scrolling on your phone or trapped on the computer finishing up something for work or school. Our little ones may not have developed a singular interest at this point (unless you have a prodigy on your hands!!) but they look to us in everything they do. The more we can do as parents to encourage their interest in learning, the greater chance we have to shape their future potential. Every moment is precious with my little girl as she grows so much from day to day! Capture every moment in your heart and make sure that you are always at the ready to teach them, to love on them, and to guide their curiosity in the right direction. They won’t always be so little but you will always be their Dad or their Mom. Building a common denominator for you to share together will serve you both in creating an unbreakable bond that will surely stand the tests of time.

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