Monday, June 18, 2012

If Muhammad won´t come to the mountain...

These last few weeks I´ve started to notice how my oldest son has begun to withdraw from the rest of the family. He comes home in the afternoon, says 'Hi!" grabs his iPad and goes to his room or the guest room, where he sort of 'hides out' for the rest of the day, if we don´t tell him to come join us. And it´s not enough to invite him to join us. We actually have to tell him (read: order him) to come be with us.

It´s rather frustrating and I was beginning to wonder, what in the world I´d done wrong. What could´ve brought my boy to flee from his family and hide away in his own world? Is there something in the way I´m being a father that is completely out of order or what?

I tried talking to him about it and told him that I want to be the best Dad in the entire universe and that I´m trying my best to be that, so if there is anything, he wanted me to think about, he really had to say so.

"No" he said, "not really... it´s fine"

Hmm... Okay...? So, he´s running away from his family in such a hurry that the mud is splashing up his back, but everything is A Okay?

Then I turned up the pressure a bit and asked him directly, why he didn´t spend time with his family, but instead kept so much to himself.

He didn´t even look at me, when he answered the question as if it was obvious: "The three others are so noisy and I just need some peace and quiet," he replied.

I thought about it for a while and two things occurred to me:

1. Why didn´t I just ask him from the very beginning why he kept to himself instead of trying to ask him, if it was me? (I felt a stupid, I have to admit)
2. If he needs the quiet (and he seems to know himself that he does) and he also needs to be with his family so that he doesn´t sort of 'grow into his own world' (and though I don´t think he knows this himself, I know I do!) - well, then we have a challenge that we need to attend to.

#1 Wasn´t easy to answer, but the lesson was clear cut: ask without inserting your own guesses in the question! (Duh!)

#2 Actually was quite easy to do something about and the answer came to me two days ago:

If Muhammad won´t come to the mountain, the mountain must come to Muhammad! So, that´s what I, the mountain, did:

I decided to join him for an hour watching him play games on his iPad and watching youtube videos with him on his iPad. The result came at once and we had a marvelous time together. I just think I might repeat it!

Wouldn´t it be great, if we, as Daddies, tried giving our kids what we always wanted our own dads to give us when we were kids ourselves?