A favorite book of mine “back in the day” was titled, The Hurried Child. The notion was that our children have so much stress because they are always on the go. And I’m not just talking about hyperactive kids. With internet technology, all kinds of communication tools, plus encouraged activities such as recreational sports, scouting, church, and clubs, when can they take a breath? And, when can we catch up with them? Because of all the options on and pressure for their time and attention, we will want to grab every teachable moment we can with our kids, making the most of opportunities with them.
Dad was taking son Joey to his Little League baseball practice one late Spring afternoon. Joey was eating his snack dinner in the car as they traveled there. “So, my man, excited about your game tomorrow night against the Pirates?” Between mouthfuls, Joey shrugged his shoulder and offered, “Whatever, yeah, I guess.” Noticing his son’s mood, Dad joked, “Well, now, don’t be so enthusiastic, big guy.” Again Joey shrugged, “It’s just that, I mean, Robbie’s pitching and I haven’t hit him yet all season.” In his best active listening form, Dad looked for a feeling. “So, you’re afraid he’ll get the best of you again?” “What do you think?” Joey conceded, with dejection in his voice.
“I’ll tell you what I think, son, can I tell you?” “Whatever, yeah,” Joey mumbled from a full mouth. “I think that, what you pay attention to grows.” “Huh?” Joey questioned. “You know, focus on the positive and it will grow. Focus on the negative and it will grow.” “Well, I’m positive Robbie’s gonna get the best of me again.” “But you don’t know that, because it hasn’t happened yet, son. You can turn this around. Get your licks in with batting practice tonight and face Robbie in the batter’s box tomorrow night, just daring him to try and throw one by you. Focus on the positive and it will grow.” After taking his dad’s wise counsel in, Joey conceded, “Yeah. I’ll try it. We’ll see what happens.”
Your teachable moments with your children do not have to be weekend camping trips, although don’t rule them out. Use a 5-minute car ride to connect. Make the most of all the available opportunities.