Our ten year old boy was really sad.
Grayson had just received the news that he did not make it into the Apex class at school, something that he was really excited about. As the tears ran down his face, I was a combination of both sad and proud. I was sad, because no one likes to see their child hurt. I was proud because he gave a sh*t.
I was raised in a family that highly encourages giving a sh*t. It never seemed to matter what the popular opinion might be, or how talented we were in a specific area. It didn’t really matter if my parents were good at it, or even interested in whatever we were learning, playing, performing, or supporting. What mattered was that we gave a sh*t about what we were doing, and Grayson was doing just that. He really cared about this.
I sent Amanda a text to let her know that Grayson was upset. Her response was,
“Poorl little guy! I hate it for him. 🙁 What can we do for him?”
The last part is what moved me.
“What can we do for him?”
This didn’t require an answer. Amanda knows exactly what we can do for him, and precisely what it is that this ten year old boy needs right now. She will do her usual job of providing it for him.
What Grayson needs right now is for someone to listen. He needs someone to get still, be quiet, give a sh*t, and listen. There is no one more skilled at this task than Amanda.
One of my favorite things in the world is to eavesdrop in on Grayson and Amanda in a session of nurturing, compassion and active listening. I remember this feeling from when I was young, and how much it meant when my mom and dad would take the time to empathize with me and show me that they understood as they would demonstrate how much they cared.
I remember the creeking of the stairs as my dad would come to my room for a session of active listening after my tiny world had been turned upside for one of a million reasons. I remember the tilt of my mom’s head and the half-frown in the corner of her mouth, as she locked eyes with me, communicating that she knows what I am feeling and letting me know that we will get through it together- whatever the situation.
I remember what it felt like to have my parents sit and listen when I was five, equally as much as at age thirty five. I will never underestimate how much it means to have someone get still and share the load, to answer the questions that have nothing to do with the heartache, someone to just sit and listen to some emotional ramblings that come with the feeling of being understood, someone to be fully dialed-in, present, and completely connected.
Making and witnessing people forming connections is one of my favorite parts about being alive. It takes an entire array of failures and victories to create the opportunity to make connections, but they are a lot of fun to watch. I’m fortunate to have people in my life who value connection and understand the importance of being present when the opportunity and need to make a connection presents itself.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,
Yep the best thing a parent can do is take time to listen to their children. Talk with them about all areas of their life. You are a parent till they become young adults on their own, then you become a close friend they can confide in. Just telling your children how proud you are they did their best, is one of the best things they can hear from you when things don’t go as they wanted them to. Enjoy your two before they grow up and leave home.