Being a parent is the most courageous thing that we can undertake in our lives and I love encouraging parents when I see them because we need all high fives that we can get.
Over the last 6 years I’ve noticed a few things that both my boys respond to and have had a positive impact on their lives.
1) Speaking encouraging words and beginning their life script
One positive word lights up Samuel’s face and a high five and a “good on you!” to Hunter really gets him charged.
I still remember the words my mum used to say to me over and over again, “Jonathan you are a leader, you have a great memory, you always think outside the box”.
This may just be my Asian mother gushing over her eldest son, but years later, I know this about myself and it impacts me daily, 34 years later.
Our life script is what we believe about ourselves and what we think others believe about us. Children can have some harmful labels placed upon them at an early age. This is why we have a few things that we specifically try to encourage our boys with every day.
“Samuel is kind, he is fast, he is smart and he loves people”
“Hunter is strong, he is confident, he is passionate and funny”
2) Loving their mum and playing fair
The boys will learn how to treat women from the way that I live and love Kylie.
I need them to see how two imperfect adults brought together by love, face problems, deal with each other’s issues (I have heaps) and show affection to each other.
I need them to see what an amazing woman she is. That she is beautiful, she is kind, she is patient and that she is in charge!
More than that, I want to build a marriage that lasts, something the boys can model their lives on and something that gives them hope.
I’d like them to see me apologise when I’m wrong, hear me praise and honour her and most of know that her opinion matters to me.
I want them to say that “Dad loved mum so much, he spoilt her and always made her feel special.” And “Mum and dad would walk around holding hands and kissing and making us embarrassed”. Yes that’s right! In your face, I love your mum!
3) Time wrestling, time playing, time is money but is it worth it?
The best thing that I’ve done lately is finishing early on Wednesday and taking Samuel to cricket. Being there, playing with him and yelling “good shot Sam!!!” when he belts it as been a replenishing activity for me and paid great dividends in our relationship.
Time equals love in the eye of a child. Time is also money in the adult world, especially when you work for yourself! Or time is also the hobby or past time that takes you away when you’re free.
They are worth it, but yes it will cost you. I’ve counselled and talked many men who are broken and live with the regret that they weren’t at home more when the children were young. Life is fleeting, live with the intent of using this time well.
4) Watching them and being there
“Dad watch me, Dad look at this, Dad I want to tell you something!”.
Boys need us to watch, to let them know they are good enough, that they measure up, that what they are doing matters. I am learning to look. Being so caught up in my own head and world (selfishness and self-absorption) has prevented me for years from just being present and watching.
What hit me was the number of patients/people who say “children grow up so quick!” It is so cliché BUT I realised when you aren’t looking purposefully and intentionally, YES you will miss it.
5) Wearing Iron man cufflinks to work
This is about being silly and sold out to them. Both the boys love that I wear the iron man cufflinks they bought me to work everyday. They love Iron man has an adventure seeing sick patients and saving them daily.
Yes it does look odd but the boys love it and I love them.
These are some thoughts to help but mostly they are areas that i’ve struggled with but by grace found a way that works. Please feel free to leave a comment and talk about things that your kids need from you.
Jonathan Ramachenderan @thehealthyGP