There’s a saying about parenting that goes something like this:
“Listen to me about the little things when I’m little so that I will want to talk to you about the big things when I’m big...because to me...they have always been the big things.”
One of the things I love about Waytoplay is the beautiful story of a parent and child relationship behind why Sybren created the Waytoplay roads. He had a love of playing outside with toy cars “preferably outdoors with the wind in his hair”. When he saw that his son had inherited that passion he created Waytoplay. A connection between parent and child, and a reminder that play at any age can be the road to a deep connection with our kids.
To kids, play IS one of the “big” things. The creations they make, the bird they hear singing in the trees, the silly story the three year old tells over and over about when they were "little" because it reminds them of something funny they did. To them, these are not just little things, they are the makings of their childhood, the stories they will tell their grandchildren, and the things they think about at night. Will we be in those stories, playing with them and fostering a love for cars, nature, story, or humor? What do they see in our faces when they talk about their "little things"?
When they look up in excitement to share their little moments, will they see our faces full of wonder, awe, and delight in them or will they see a face of annoyance, boredom, or simply not see a face at all because we are too busy to listen?
Will we stick around long enough when they play to let them see us delighting in them, delighting in just watching them? No strings attached, no pressure to perform or impress or fulfill some unmet desire in our own lives or trying to "live through them". Will we set aside purposeful time each day to put away the phone, and really listen to what they are saying through their play?
Might we, if we make a habit of listening to the little things in the lives of our children as they play, learn not only more about them and ways we can reach them at the deepest level, but about the precious value in stopping to listen to the seemingly little things in our own lives as well?
In a world of endless distractions, let’s show our kids, by our example, that THEY...not the toys we buy them, not the beautiful playrooms we create or the learning atmospheres we cultivate, not the social media accounts we manage or the play dates we arrange for them...THEY are the big thing. WE know this, but if our actions speak louder than words, do THEY know?
Our relationship with them is the big thing...so let us build the road to a deep lifelong relationship with them purposefully and thoughtfully, piece by piece, small moment by small moment where we make time to be present, available, and free of distractions. To them, those small moments always have been and always will be, the “big” things.
Enjoy the Journey,