I read an article today on the Huffington Post from last year that made me think. It talked about the 6 most important words you should say today, and it just resonated with me. The words are, “I love to watch you play.”
Here is a link to the article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-macy-stafford/six-words-you-should-say-today_b_3863643.html
It was talking about kids’ sports and activities and what parents say after an event. What kids care about most is knowing that their parents enjoyed just watching them play. It made me think about playing with Legos and Play Mobil and Kitchen toys and Play Doh when they were little. I loved just watching my kids play and actually playing along with them. I enjoyed being with them and sharing time together, shifting from one event to the next, with no expectations except hopefully a nap so I could have a mental break. I loved watching them be and being with them.
Now that they are bigger, I tend to watch their sporting events quite frequently. Sometimes I really feel judgmental and want to critique their work or effort and share my opinions about what I observed. Reading this article made me realize that what is probably more important is for me to connect with my kids on a more general level and just acknowledge my happiness in seeing them participating and playing.
I tried this tonight after Football and Water Polo. I actually watched them differently today, just feeling thankful to be there with them and enjoying being on the field and at the pool, instead of being rushed and feeling like I should be doing 101 other things.
When they got back to the car, I acknowledged loving watching my boys play and said, “I loved watching you play today.” They genuinely thanked me. They were content and shared their experiences with me and told me how they thought they did. I listened and was content too, and then shared some thoughtful feedback of course. We shared a loving connection. I want them to participate in extra curricular activities and I want them to do well, but I don’t want to add any more stress to their little lives.
I love that they’re playing and getting exercise and enjoying their friends. I loved watching them play.
As adults, we should also play with no expectations and enjoy the process and just be with no pressure to always win or improve. And maybe someone else will love just watching us play too.