The other night Jason and I went to a movie. In this movie there was a scene where the mother was sitting on her daughter’s bed telling her she loved her and asking her if she knew that. The girl responded hesitantly. Then the daughter asked the mother a bunch of questions….like what were her team colors and team name and a bunch of other things. The mother sat on the bed with tears streaming down her face as she realized that she truly thought she knew her daughter, but she really didn’t. At some point the mother had gone onto auto pilot and had stopped putting in the work of building the relationship and maintaining it.
It made me think. Our family spends so much time in the same vicinity that we think we know each other. The question is…do we really? Or is it a facade?
So, I decided to do something about it.
I sat down with a stack of blank paper and I started writing. I started writing questions that we all ask when we are getting to know someone. And questions we ask when we care about someone. And questions we ask to help improve our relationship.
When I was done I had 8 pages of questions. I then went downstairs and made 7 photo copies. I hole punched them and stapled them together and wrote a family member’s name at the top of each.
Then I took some time and answered the questions on my set of questions.
Later, when everyone arrived home, I told them about the questionnaire. I also told them that they had until Tuesday to complete it. And of course I told them the first one done got a special reward as well as each person would get a small reward when they completed theirs.
The big reward was a movie pass. The small ones were favorite chocolate bars. The 3 youngest were excited to do it. Katie said she wasn’t going to do it….Until she realized there was chocolate.
As of today only Kieran hasn’t done his. We have already had all sorts of interesting conversations. And I have learned so much about my kids.
I really thought I knew them. And in a lot of ways I did. But relationships take time and effort. And I think somewhere along the way I forgot that we are all constantly changing. That our likes and dislikes and hopes and dreams and goals aren’t static.
I am SO glad I took he time to ask the questions. And you know what… the kids loved being asked! It made them feel important and valued and loved.
And who knew: if Kianna could learn anything she’d learn to ride a pig; if Katie could go back in time she’d stab Adolf Hitler before he could do anything bad; if Keilan could plan a one week vacation anywhere in the world he’d go to see uncle Kenny in Toronto ; Karyssa’s happiest memories are always when she’s having an adventure and making a discovery; and Jason and I share the same saddest memory….
And there was one question no one answered….what is the one thing that your parents have done that you regret the most? I guess we aren’t doing such a bad job after all…