The Awesome Power of Meeting Your Kids Right Where They’re Already At
Several days ago, I was listening to Dan Miller’s 48 Days podcast which, deals primarily with small business, career questions, and leadership. On this particular episode he interviewed an amazing man named Tom Schwab. Among the topics Tom discussed was a marketing principle that suggests you should “Start the conversation where it’s already going on.” He went on to offer the following illustration, “If you want to talk to people there are basically two ways to do it. Go to the party where they’re already at, and start in on the conversation, or sit at home and hopefully they come by your house.” That picture provides us a powerful look at how we can more effectively be available for and engage with our kids.
Being available for your kids often means choosing to meet them right where they’re already at.
In the same way that a quality salesperson is proactive in seeking out new ways to engage with and add value to potential customers, you must be proactive and intentional in connecting with your children. The very fact that you’ve chosen to engage with material like you are reading right now, gives me confidence that you desire to continue growing the relationship you have with your kids. One of the most practical ways to accomplish this goal is to intersect your kids along the path they are already walking. Meet your kids where they are at by showing genuine interest in what’s important to them. Connecting over their music, art, books, friends, sports, or hobbies can’t help but bring you closer together. Additionally, as a bonus, stepping out of your comfort zone to connect will have a powerful impact on opening up the hearts of your children.
3 Key Elements to Successfully Connecting with Your Kids Right Where They’re Already At
- Know Your Child: Connecting with your kids in ways that are meaningful to them presupposes you know what’s meaningful to them. Take the time and make the effort required to really understand what your kids enjoy, as well as where their individual strengths and passions lie.
- Be Intentional: As we discussed earlier in the week, it is always easy to get busy and let the days slip away. Don’t allow yourself to miss out on opportunities for connection because you aren’t paying attention.
- It’s Not About You: This is a hard one. The kind of music you prefer, the restaurants you like, and the games you enjoy are important, just not for this exercise. Meeting your kids where they’re at means finding genuine excitement for what excites them. Do I prefer classic rock songs with 10 minute guitar solos…sure, but do I know all the lyrics to every Jamie Grace song…yes. Why, because it’s important to my girls, and it provides us with a great way to connect.
Last Sunday, I spent the entire day just being available to my girls. For them it meant hopping in the van and driving to an animal shelter 45 minutes from our house. While there, I listened to them talk endlessly about the subtle differences between each type of dog breed we saw, along with what the cats were trying to “tell us” when they would do this little thing or that. (As an aside, the smell of walking into a closed room with 10 litter boxes and 30 cats is pretty much the equivalent of being punched in the groin.) We walked dogs, played fetch, and spent time together connecting in a way that was special to them. It was a truly great experience. We also managed to sprinkle in pizza, a movie, some shopping, and a stop at one of our favorite playgrounds. Not a particularly spectacular list, but it delivered a tremendous day with my girls.
A Call to Action
This weekend, identify an interest your child has that you don’t totally “get.” Commit to asking them some open-ended questions that can lead to you really learning about what they think is important. I promise you’ll find showing genuine interest in your child is a powerful source of connection. Make the choice to be available to your kids starting today!
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