Category Archives: Relationships

6.27.16 ~ Simple Fun

I think sometimes we try too hard to make fun for our children, when some of the simpler things in life are the most pleasurable and entertaining.

I’ve been trying to do a better job enjoying the simple rhythms of life and teaching my sons to do the same.  Perhaps, we learn to appreciate life a little more, and that we don’t have to search very hard or far for a good time.

I’ve spoken of family bike rides in a recent post, and they continue to be enjoyable.  Family bike rides have proved to be a simple fun thing to do in the rhythms of life.  Why not take 15-30 minutes for a short cruise around your community?

There are other things we have been enjoying this summer: playing the card game UNO, going to the lake, learning card tricks, camping in the back yard, fires in the fire pit, and jumping on the trampoline.

The other day we had a yard sale at our house, and will have another one this Saturday at my parent’s house, because they have a better location and we still have some things to get rid of.  We had fun as a family, collecting our un-used and un-needed items, preparing the sale, and being together during the sale.

One of the items in the sale was an AB Lounge Sport my folks had dropped off for us to try to unload for them.  We didn’t sell it, but at the end of the day we had fun using it as our prop for making spoof advertisements for the AB Lounge Sport.  One of the videos even got posted to You Tube, although I currently have it set to private. I am still trying to decide if I want others to view my attempts at sketch comedy, probably not.  Regardless, making the videos was a fun and simple thing to do with my sons.

During and after the yard sale my youngest son and I also had fun together implementing an idea he had on how to make a seat and foot rest for his scooter.  He did the bulk of the work and then I helped him fasten it to the scooter.  As soon as we were finished he went for a ride, and he has been riding it around the patio and roads ever since.  A simple thing, with hours of fun attached to it.

Let’s not try too hard to make life fun, but let’s remember there are fun things that can and do happen in the normal rhythms of life.  We just have to remember to stop and take time to see them, and experience them.  There our several advantages, laughter being one of them, but I think the quality time spent with our children and as a family is the most important.  Relationship time is always good time.

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2.23.16~ Engaging

My oldest son lives life from the high functioning side of the Autism Spectrum.  To be exact the official terminology is Asperger’s, even though we are not into labels.

Like with our other children we see him as a unique child of God with strengths, gifts, and talents.  Part of our job as parents is to help each of our sons discern God’s calling on their lives, and to journey with them in the process.  Somewhere along the line we believe this means using all that God has given them to be contributing and productive members of society.

Last night I had the opportunity to be engaged by my son as we talked about theology, Star Wars, and life calling.  Evidently, he has a better grasp on the book of Revelation, and other parts of the Bible, than I do.  He talked, I talked.  He listened, I listened.  He laughed, I laughed. He cried, I almost cried.  We had a good time.

I don’t know about all autistic children, and I say this because the spectrum is so wide and varied, but I do know with my son that engaging him on topics he is interested in is very important.  This is of course is true for almost all of us.  We engage more, and talk more on those things we are interested in.

If I talk to my son about basketball he wants nothing to do with it.  If I engage him in conversation about Star Wars, the Bible, World War 2, airplanes, farming, eating healthy, or what he wants to do and be when he grows up I get 60 minute, in depth, conversations. My job is to listen and engage him in the conversation.  Ask questions.  Give feed back.  Give him love, support, and care.  (That’s how we ought to be in all of our conversations.)

Part of this process includes helping him with some of the social skills that are hard for him.  As I engage him in conversation we make eye contact, we allow each other space in the midst of our word exchange, and I try to model the way a conversation is supposed to happen.

I suppose the reminder for me is I need to engage him and my other sons in this manner on a regular basis.  Having conversations like this with them will definitely allow us to connect, and will help them along the path of becoming who the are supposed to be in responses to God’s call on their lives.

 


Post 4: Realizations and Reminders

I left the house this morning at 5:20 and I got home tonight at 11.  During the day I came home for a half an hour at lunch.  I saw Heidi, my wife, for a few hours this morning at work, and at lunch.  I didn’t see my sons at all.

I’m not happy about how today went down for several reasons, with the main one being what was supposed to be a family night at home did not happen.

My work-related reason for not being home tonight was valid, and for privacy won’t get in to the details, but I still don’t like that I missed dinner, doing homework, and relaxing with my family tonight.  Tonight was one of two nights at home this week, and I was really looking forward to our time together as a family.

While themes of boundaries, priorities, and saying no are running through my head I have also had some realizations and reminders as I reflect on my day.

1.  I have to trust that since this is not a normal occurrence that my sons will not be scarred for life because I missed dinner and an evening at home.

2. I love my family and spending time with them is one of the most important things to me.

3.  In the midst of busyness, family time is important.

  1. I am thankful for Heidi and her presence and role in my life and the boy’s lives.
  1. While my “calling” might lead me to spend time helping other people, the most important time I can spend is with my family.

Post 2: Time

I’m a part of a “Man Club” (my name for it), that meets on the first Monday of every month at my friend’s house.  Our second such gathering just finished an hour ago and I am happy to announce that none of us have cried yet.  We get together, guided by a video and workbook with questions, to discuss matters related to manhood such as parenting, marriage, faith, work, and being the best versions of ourselves.

At one point tonight our discussion turned to practical and concrete ideas for ensuring good relationships with our children both now and into the future.  We were not looking to make a list but our conversation focused on time, honesty, and making sure to tell our children that we love them.   Today’s post will focus on time.

My oldest son received several model airplanes for Christmas this year and because he needs help with activities involving fine motor skills I have been helping him build the first model, a B-17 Bomber which will hang from his bedroom ceiling upon completion.  I don’t have time to fully introduce my oldest son to you in today’s post but I want you to know that Asperger Syndrome does not define him but rather allows him to approach and embrace life from a perspective different than my own.

On the day we first started working on the model plane my oldest son shared with me that working on the model was a good project for father and son bonding time.  Evidently, as it came out in the course of our conversation he was under the impression that things had not been going well between the two of us and we needed this time together as father and son.  While I assured him everything was good between the two of us, I couldn’t agree more that spending time together as father and son was always a great idea.

We work on the model together when time allows.  This involves me and my limited model building skills doing most of the work while my oldest son helps where he can while sharing with me facts and stories about B-17’s.  We have a good time together until the fumes from the paint and glue force us to take a break.

Time with our children is time well spent for several reasons, some of which I will mention here.

1) Our relationships with our children are important and we must spend time nurturing these relationships.  Perhaps as our children grow older a nurtured relationship will keep us close with them.

2) Spending time with our children doing something they enjoy or are interested in shows them we love them.

3) As we spend time with our children we have the opportunity to talk with them.  Not only do we learn more about each other, but opportunities for teaching and learning life lessons also occur.

4) Families are supposed to spend time together.  Parents and children are supposed to spend time together.  In a world of busyness, time spent with our children shows them they are important to us.

Time is important, and since I only have a few minutes to post this to reach my goal of posting something every day of the week except for Sunday, I must finish this brief and perhaps unfinished post.

As parents time spent with our children is time well spent.  I’m still learning this lesson after 14 years of parenting, perhaps you can learn this with me, and even teach me something along the way.