Happy Emoticons Please!
This recent text message from my teenage son made me smile, it arrived on a Monday and went something like this:
‘Mum my GFs family have invited me over to watch her brothers soccer game tonight. Do you mind if I go or do you want me to come home for family dinner? I’m happy to come home if you want.’
I should mention a few things:
My son D.J. is 19 years old.
- He is at university.
- I have not told him to go or not to go anywhere for a few years now.
- He hasn’t asked my permission to go or not go anywhere since he got his drivers licence the day he turned 17.
- Monday night is family dinner night at our house.
- As a family we value time together.
The last few years have seen massive changes in our family life. Only a moment ago, or so it seems, the teenagers were home for dinner most nights and catching buses to school. Not so anymore. This is the season where our teenagers begin to manage aspects of their own lives, responsibilities, cars, studies, social networks and interests.
I realised that if I didn’t develop a strategy to keep placing value on family time, it would be too easy to let family time slip through the cracks of 5 busy lives. I have great women around me who I am constantly observing for family strategy and inspiration. So, Monday night is family dinner night. If we are travelling and it’s a choice between a Monday afternoon flight home or catching the Redeye so we are home for dinner, it’s the Redeye. Don’t call on Monday nights.
Back to the text message…
I smiled because I realised that my son understands the value of our family time.
I smiled because when he has his own family he will have an understanding of how to adapt as his teenagers begin to establish lives of their own.
I smiled because he asked me for permission when he knows he doesn’t need it and I wouldn’t tell him what to do, even though he asked.
I smiled because he also values his GFs family.
As parents and leaders, we teach our values.