Our two boys are very different people, and they’ve been that way as far back as I can remember. Kent is more cautious and detail-oriented, tends toward perfectionism, is more introverted and (relatively) quieter. Reed flies by the seat of his pants, cannot sit still, loves to interact with others, and talks and talks and talks, regardless of whether there’s anyone around to talk to. It is amazing to see them both growing into young men, and fascinating to observe how the personalities they were born with continue to evolve and mature under our watchful eye.
Darah and I are reading an excellent little book right now, Different Children, Different Needs. These two very different children need different things from us as they grow and develop, and we are seeing positive results already from just the mere discussion of this reality with the boys.
The most notable example so far has been Reed’s initiation of regular “tea and coffee” chats with Darah and me. When we shared with Reed from the book about how he is wired up and the sorts of things that are meaningful to him, he positively lit up. In a family of one borderline and two committed introverts, I believe our avowed extrovert felt affirmed and validated that he was “OK” in a way maybe he hadn’t been before.
It wasn’t long after this that Reed announced that we would be holding regular morning conferences with him one-on-one. Tuesdays is the day he meets with Darah, and Thursday mornings he has reserved for me. It is a time where we set on the couch together and just talk. I’m not sure how Darah’s times go, but I usually let him guide the conversation.
In just the few meetings we’ve held so far, it has been a joy to hear Reed’s heart and mind. We’ve covered topics as sublime as love for one another and the best ways to deal with anger, and as mundane as effective strategies for going “late game” in Bloons TD battles. Wherever we may roam in our conversation, over the course of 45 minutes or so, we are strengthening the bonds of our relationship. This time has quickly become one of my favorites throughout the week. And to think this was Reed’s idea and it is his initiative that keeps the ball rolling from week to week. With just a minimal amount of affirmation and encouragement, he has come up with a terrific way to connect and grow our relationships in a way that suits him perfectly.
Reed, I am honored to be permitted to serve as father such a creative, caring, and intelligent person. I love you very much!
(Also note in the photo above the plate of eggs next to me. Kent, our breakfast cook, served Reed and I “breakfast-on-couch” this morning, completely on his own initiative. Way to go, Kent! I love you, too.)