For almost 40 years (with a few years of interruption), I have been involved in Florida’s legislative process. I started when I was 18 and at 62, being in the Capitol still has a mystique and thrill that few places have. During the 60-day session and for the past ones as long as I can remember, a special week is dedicated to children. It’s appropriately called “Children’s Week” and from the beautiful artwork in the Capitol that is hand painted from children across the state to the celebration of the many children’s organizations who exhibit in the courtyard and in the building, one can’t help but appreciate children who are our future.
In one of the conversations with the exhibitors, I asked a simple question: What does a parent do these days to make their children feel special? I just figured that the answer would be to buy them an Apple iPhone or let them travel to Europe. To my delighted surprise, this children’s advocate said that not much has changed and she handed me some literature that I read intently. And when you think about the advice she shared, the ideas are not much different for how we show our adult friends and family they are special. Here’s the list:
- Be attentive and actively listen. Stop what you’re doing and maintain eye contact. And if you can’t, say so but tell them to give you “a minute” to engage.
- Show affection by hugging on a regular basis. Physical contact showing warmth and affection leads to high self-esteem.
- Provide genuine praise – and quality is more important than quantity. Recognize something out of the ordinary.
- Ask for help in completing projects to teach a child how to do things and show your appreciation for the assist.
- Go for a drive and engage in conversation about the journey without the radio on.
- Create bedtime rituals of stories or sharing the day’s events and talk about the day’s blessings.
- Enjoy family meals without the TV on and talk!
As I said, this list was surprisingly similar to what we learned in kindergarten isn’t it? Have a great week and will see you on the trail!