Last Monday, we had a discussion about ‘relationships’. I first asked them ‘with whom do you have meaningful relationships’? Most of them answered ‘with my mom or dad, with a good friend or a good friend of the family or with the grandparents’ and some kids also said with a big smile in their face ‘with Mattie and Katjalisa’.
The next question I asked them was ‘what are these people you just mentioned actively doing in order to build that relationship with you?’ Of course, they had no idea what to answer because in their development stage they are taking everything for granted, bless them.
So I gave them examples:
I have a meaningful relationship with my parents but they are far away.
What do I actively do to cultivate our relationship?
For example: I call them every Sunday and we have a long chat with the whole family while Mattie is making pancakes for Bendush and me, I send them pictures and little videos so they can take part in our lives, I send my dad songs I like (we both love listening to music with loud speakers), I send them books that inspire me, etc…
I also have a meaningful relationship with my son.
What do I actively do to cultivate our relationship:
For example: we regularly take foot baths together while listening to podcasts that we find interesting. Then we massage each other’s feet with yummy smelling oil that makes the feet silky and soft. I drive him to his skate class in Lagos and we listen to songs we both like. We cuddle in bed and I share stories about myself when I was a kid his age and then he shares stories about himself. etc….
I could go on but I guess you get the idea. The kids for sure did and shared beautiful, heartwarming stories about meaningful relationships in their lives…
Here is a little HomePlay for you to engage with the whole family:
With whom do YOU have meaningful relationships? And what are you actively doing to build/cultivate your relationships? What are others actively doing to build/ cultivate a meaningful relationship with you?
Write your reflections in a journal and then share in a circle within your family. It’s a beautiful and very effective way of expressing gratitude towards each other and creating awareness about the understanding that relationships, if they want to be healing, supportive and nourishing, are work. The work can manifest through simple things. It’s really up to us to decide how much work we actively want to invest in building and cultivating meaningful relationships in our lives.