Work to find the “yes.”
As parents, Mike and I try to say “yes” to our children more often than “no.” We both very much dislike a morning or couple of days when we hear ourselves saying “no” too many times. I start to put myself in the shoes of my child, and imagine hearing “no, no, no.” The kids smile less during these episodes.
So we work to find the “yes” in the situation. Maybe instead of “don’t do that” it’s “do you want to do this?” I guess we aim to have our glasses half full most of the time instead of half empty.
It’s not such a stretch, then, that I’m noticing a pattern in our more macro-parenting style of embracing the passions—fleeting though they may turn out to be—of our four-year-old. Every time we go for a run she says she wants to run with us, and we bribe her into the stroller with snacks or crayons. But recently Mike said, “You know, we should be encouraging her desire to exercise with us,” and we got her some Nikes. She won’t run for long periods of time, but she is proud to be running at our sides, and more importantly, proud to be running.
If enough interest is expressed in something, we’ll look into ways to go deeper. It doesn’t always have to be expensive. It can be as simple as a trip to the library or a movie rental. I do tend toward signing Bella up for classes and camps, but only if she truly wants to do it. I laughingly say I’m living vicariously through her, but I seriously take pleasure in her various activities and interests, and watching her learn.
Why should the kids have all the fun, though? There is no reason we as adults should feel our time is up for embracing fleeting passions. If you feel like learning how to tango, by golly, buy a pair of black heels and take your place on the dance floor. If you work out regularly, take yourself on a shopping trip (even just to Target) and get some clothes you’ll feel cute and sporty in. Find the “yes” in answer to the question: “Should I sign up?”