Social distancing has provided the incredible blessing of precious with my beloved wife and my daughter, Shea.
While we spent quality time together during those good old normal days of endless tasks, beating the clock, and struggling to get Shea’s socks and shoes on before school, we now have an unprecedented amount of time together as I can work remotely and as we seek safety and good health.
In this very difficult time, these moments with her and my wife are absolute blessings that I do not take for granted.
While I have taken on the role as “teacher” for some mornings, I am realizing that it is in fact my daughter who is doing the teaching for her old man.
Here are the top 5 lessons from my 3 1/2 year old:
Stay in the moment: With a short attention span, working on writing her name may only last a brief time. This task soon becomes boring and we move on to the next project or game. But while she is writing, drawing, dancing, or playing- she is focused on the task at hand. It grabs all her attention and energy. The present moment is all that matters, until it doesn’t. How might we stay in the present and give it all of our energy, attention, and love.
Learn something new: Kids are like sponges, and there is an endless desire to absorb new information and to develop advanced skills. Last weekend, Shea spelt her last name for the first time. There was such pride in this achievement, and her mom and I did our best to reinforce this moment with cheers and hugs. What might we be willing to learn, what tool needs to be sharpened, as the world moves a little slower during these strange and challenging days.
Reward yourself: Inspired by her daycare, we created a chart to monitor her behavior, titled “How are you doing today.” The green reinforces positive behavior, and the yellow and red motivates better behavior. If the day ends in green, which usually occurs, there is some reward like an extra book, tv time, or tonight’s reward- a banana milkshake. How can you reward yourself for a disciplined day of completing tasks, overcoming challenges, and keeping it all together!
Have fun: Sometimes you just need to dance, watch your favorite show, sing your favorite song, paint a masterpiece, complete a craft, or smell that first batch of pancakes on the griddle. Don’t forget to have fun while you can!
Give love: If it is the forms of hugs, kisses, or a surprising message like last night when Shea said, “I love you dad,” while building competing lego castles (I won by the way), remember to give love- let it shine in all you say and do. This is precious time to love those gifts in your life- even if it is limited to a text, phone call or FaceTime.