Men and women have different ways of connecting with each other-I think we can all agree on that. We also tend to get forget this fact when we interact with our kids. Or see our spouses interact with our kids.
My oldest son and my husband share common interests in Jeeps and guns. They can carry on a fifteen minute conversation just about the various types of winches one can choose to purchase for a Jeep Wrangler, discussing in great detail the advantages and disadvantages of each. I mentally check out of these conversations-yes, I own a Jeep Wrangler, but I don’t really care what kind of winch I could potentially mount on the front of my car. I probably never will put one on anyway, so I don’t feel I need to retain this information.
I used to get frustrated with my husband-I felt he should be discussing relevant biblical topics. Perhaps even investment strategies for my son’s 401(k), or taking time to make sure Nathan is getting his car serviced regularly. I used to think my husband was wasting precious time that should be used for educating, encouraging, and emphasizing. And then one day I discovered I was so wrong.
I overheard my son discussing Jeeps and guns with a friend one day, and I heard him sharing some information he learned from my husband. That’s when I realized how foolish I’d been, irritated with my husband for not sharing “important” information with Nathan. I realized that the content of the discussion is not nearly as important as the intent. I realized that as long as two people are exchanging ideas and opinions in a mature, nonconfrontational manner, they are connecting and they are growing their relationship. I also figured out that connecting and growing your relationship with other people, including your children, is critical to our emotional well-being.
Women like to share. And share. And share some more. We like to share emotions, and thoughts. We like to be vulnerable to someone else in order to connect. That is the way God made us and it’s a good thing. We have to remember this isn’t the only way to connect and share and enjoy relationships. I’m slow to learn I guess-it just took me 20 years of raising sons to reach that conclusion.
I think there is a lesson to be learned in everything. I need to try harder to remember not everyone is like me. We all connect in different ways and on different levels, according to our personalities and our needs.
Please comment and let me know how you connect with your kids-I’d love to know!