Our children want to share with us. They want to invite us into their world, to have us hop aboard the train of their latest interest.
It's THEIR interest
Many of their passions will be things we ourselves have no interest in. We perhaps wouldn't have expected our child to follow that particular ‘thing’, or wish we'd managed to steer them clear of it. And yet we find ourselves there anyway, with a child who can't get enough of whatever it is.
The deeper they go, the more they want us to be involved. They want to talk to us, share the facts they know, see their pictures, watch the clips, buy the products. And we have a choice.
Do we care?
We can decide it's ‘their thing’, a childlike thing not for us adults and try to separate ourselves from it, OR we can see it differently. We can see it as a way of connecting. We can see our child's need to share the interest as actually being a way to share themselves with us.
What they love helps us know more about who they are, and we can open ourselves to it.
We can feign interest until it becomes genuine. We can empower them to teach us about something we would otherwise know nothing about.
We can listen even if we feel like brushing them off, and choose even just one fact to commit to memory. Telling this back to them later will do wonders for their spirit - Mum or Dad were listening, they do care, they do love me.
We have to be adult enough to realise there are times we'll find their conversations ‘boring’.
We can choose to tune in anyway.
There will be moments we wanted to get a job done but a little face tells you how important sharing a drawing they did is. We were busy but we can choose to stop anyway. Sharing their interests matters so much to them that it has to matter to us too.
If our children feel valued and heard in these ways, they'll stay connected and open with us as they get older. Dialogue will be a natural part of the relationship. They'll know they can come to us and we won't turn away. They'll know that just because something isn't ‘our thing’, we won't be closed to hearing about it or helping them through it.
We want to be their ‘go to’ people as they navigate trickier situations later. Being open and welcoming now lays that path.