Become Their Biggest Fan: connect with your tech-obsessed kid
The following article is from national speaker Jonathan McKee, author of over 25 books, and most importantly, husband and father of three. This particular article is one in a series of articles from his incredibly practical book, “52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid.”
“That is really cool. Show me how.”
I’ll never forget his words. My dad not only liked what I did, but he actually wanted me to show him how to do it.
I had played the piano for seven years, but I really wanted to play the drums. When high school rolled around, I asked my parents if I could buy a drum set. Reflecting back on the experience, I can see my parents’ hesitation. A drum set is a commitment to hours of noise daily. You might as well ask your parents if you can start a Harley Davidson repair shop in the garage.
But my parents shrewdly told me, “Jonathan, if you take classical piano lessons for one year, you can get a drum set.”
Turned out, I thoroughly enjoyed both. Drumming was fun, but the piano was mentally refreshing.
A funny thing happened. My dad became a big fan of my drumming.
My biggest fan!
I remember my first concert. My brother and I started a band with a few friends. He was on the guitar, our friend Ken was on the keyboards, and I was on the drums (we had several singers throughout the years). My dad showed up to our first concert; I saw him standing there in the back. His mere presence was affirming.
During the concert, I did my first drum solo. It’s funny to think about it as I look back. In my desperate attempt to be like the legendary John Bonham, my solo lasted almost five minutes, including a moment where I reached back to a bag of drumsticks and threw them one at a time, striking a lone cymbal on the other side of the stage.
When the concert was over, my dad had a huge smile on his face. “I loved those drums!” he gushed. “Wow! It was amazing The crowd loved it!”
I’ll never forget it.
“I loved those drums.”
His words made an impact.
Sure, as a teenager I was probably more excited about the blond girl screaming in the front row than the middle-aged man standing in the back. But honestly, now I don’t remember a single person at that concert-except one. And I’ll always remember his words of encouragement.
In fact, later that week, my Dad asked me to show him how to play the drums. It was fun watching him try. It was an enjoyable bonding moment.
Can you remember the last time you offered your kid some simple words of encouragement? How about a time you asked your son or daughter to show you how to do something?
Today’s young people love being deemed the expert at something. If you ever want to enjoy some fun one-on-one time with your kids, ask them to teach you how to do something they’re good at.
Look for opportunities not only to take an interest in their interests but to affirm them in those interests. Admire them. Catch them doing something well, and tell them you are impressed.
Become their biggest fan.
Cheer on the sidelines as they challenge their capabilities and improve their talents. Stand by them as they nervously display those talents in public.
These days, kids have endless options for opportunities to display their talents. As the parent, it’s important to invest time and interest in seeking out those opportunities with your kids. Organizations like Gabb Wireless and Gabb Life offer amazing platforms and incentives for kids to work hard, develop their skills, and showcase their talents. Support your kids as they take part in these big breaks.
In a world where the overwhelming majority of people have a smartphone in their pocket, it’s easy to offer some “online” encouragement: a nice comment about a posted pic or a kind text. But nothing trumps looking into your son’s or daughter’s eyes and affirming them to their face.
Your face-to-face affirmation may be the only kind words they hear this week. And whom do you want your daughter to hear more affirmation from? You or that guy on the football team?
How can you affirm your kids this week?
Questions to Ponder:
- Can you think of someone who affirmed you? What is the most affirming thing that person ever told you?
- What is something your kids do that you can affirm?
- What words can you say to affirm them?