(scene of the family at dinner from the movie "The Story of Us")
Junnoske, my older son, often laments that I spend way too much time with my mobile phone and iPad. This spurred me to consider experimenting with Project Connect (http://michelle-koay.blogspot.com/2011/05/project-connect.html) a week ago. At that time, I was still in the US with my sister and her family. I wanted to be able to try it with my sons so I decided to set aside time after work this evening.
I turned off my mobile phone and put away my iPad. I prepared the children's dinner and offered to read to them. My younger son, Ryunoske, sprang excitedly to the bookshelf and chose "Thomas and the School Trip" (from Thomas & Friends). Junnoske requested specifically for the chapter on "Men from Mars" in the novel by Roald Dahl "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator".
"I want to hear how you speak Martian language", Junnoske giggled as he explained that Mr Wonka spoke Martian language in that chapter.
Before I started reading, the children shared about what they did at school that day. Then, I began with the book Ryunoske chose. He was beaming with joy when I finished reading the story. Next, I recalled a segment from the movie by Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer entitled "The Story of Us", where the family has a dinner routine in which each of them takes turns to share their "highs" and "lows" for the day. I spontaneously asked them to tell me their "highs" and "lows". Junnoske enthusiastically exclaimed that going to my new office with me was definitely his "high" and that his "low" was his tired feet. Ryunoske interrupted immediately that his "low" was not having the opportunity to go to my new office as well. I felt bad so I encouraged him to think of his "high" and he talked about the story I just read.
The children chatted so much and I was unaware that the hour passed so quickly. It was interesting to have a meaningful conversation with a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old that was not just about whether they completed their homework for the day. They seemed to have enjoyed the experience although I did not elaborate on the concept of Project Connect. I felt that my children taught me that it really was not that difficult to connect with children. I was pleasantly surprised by their fun and playful manner during the hour.
As a counsellor/psychotherapist, I spend an entire hour per session being in therapeutic presence with each of my clients. But I do not have a dedicated hour for each of my two sons. Isn't this such an irony? Aren't they people that matter the most to us?
So, what's your high and low for the day?