I have seen many parents dismiss their children’s interests, describing how frustrating it is to sit through a boring children’s programne for the 10th time in a row or how irritating the voice is of their child’s favourite YouTuber. These parents are missing a wonderful opportunity to share joy and develop a deep, close relationship with their children.
My youngest two love the Minions and were aware there was a movie coming out at some point. It’s not a film I would choose to watch myself so I could have just not mentioned when it came out or I could have waited until they pleaded to go or taken them along grudgingly waiting for the movie to be over and then complained to other people how I had sat through a silly movie because I’d ‘had’ to take my children to it. I chose instead to suggest going to see it out of the blue one afternoon, I spent most of the film looking at the children and feeling joy at their joy, seeing their excitement and enjoying their giggles.
There have been many instances since where we have been able to share jokes from the film, talk about the parts we found funny, they have shared joyfully with me the things they loved about the film and who their favourite characters are. None of this would have been possible if I had chosen to belittle their love for the Minions, if I had decided that although I was prepared to ‘put up’ with allowing them to see it and do them a favour by taking them along I was going to let them know I was only doing it for them and that they should be grateful. Instead I chose joy and happiness, I chose to be open to sharing something they love and know that it is me who should feel gratitude that they are prepared to share their love and interests with me.