Save the Cheerleader, Save the World

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One of the TV shows I watch is Heroes. It’s not like the typical super hero show where the main character defeats a villain in every episode. Heroes is about ordinary people discovering they have extraordinary abilities. This post isn’t about the TV show. It’s about ordinary parents forming an extraordinary connection with their children.

When I use to work for a soul sucking corporation, one of my co-worker told me his wife plays video games with their son. When he told me this, my first impulse was to ask him why he was telling me this. Instead, I asked him if his wife likes video games. He said no, but it’s an opportunity for his wife to bond with their son. An opportunity to spend some time together, do something their son enjoys, and make a connection with each other.

In our neighborhood, there’s a mother and son who likes to go on walks together. They walk on opposite sides of the street with baseball mitts and play catch while they are walking. Even more amazing is that I have never seen either one of them drop the ball. What an extraordinary connection! When that boy grows up, I bet he’s going to have fond memories about playing catch with his mother.

When our kids are young and cute, it’s easy to bond with them. But as our kids grow older, our relationship with them changes…our connection weakens and they start to lead their own lives. My oldest daughter, Princess M, is six now. Our relationship has changed significantly in the last three years. Until she turned three, I was at the center of her universe. I was her playmate and she clung to me like the way a baby monkey clings to its mother. Then Spiderboy was born and our bond was broken. Princess M started clinging to Mommy Forever and our relationship has never been the same…I was no longer at the center of her universe. And when Princess M started kindergarten, our bond weaken even more. Now she has other kids to play with. I was no longer her playmate of choice.

Princess M and Spiderboy sitting on Daddy Forever's lap on a Saturday morningEven though my relationship with my daughter has changed, we still share a common interest…super heroes. Every Saturday morning, my two oldest kids and I watch the Legion of Super Heroes and Batman. It’s something they both look forward to each week. Their interest doesn’t end with the cartoons. They both also like to watch my super hero DVDs. They like to ask me about the characters and I enjoy telling them about the super heroes…their names, powers, and little things I remember from the comic books I use to read as a child. When my kids grow up and have their own kids who are into super heroes, Princess M and Spiderboy may even remember our special time together.

In time, my kids will lose their interest in super heroes. When that time comes, we’ll just have to find something else to connect with. That’s what parents do.

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16 thoughts on “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World

  1. When my daughter Bonnie Lass was younger, she always wanted me to play Barbies with her, and I had a difficult time with that because I hate Barbie dolls and I had a hard time making up imaginary scenes. I tried my best, though, and she was so grateful.

    My son Little Man Warrior likes when I play video games with him as well, and I don’t like them, but I do it because he loves it.

    It’s all about the bonding, as you said, and the bonding takes on different forms as the kids age. Now as my daughter is prepubescent, our bonding activities include shoe shopping (one of my great passions) and reading books together. Soon, my son will look for new ways to spend time with me, and I’ll adapt.

  2. I think it’s also important to do our best to find some way to make that whatever bonding activity interesting for ourselves or the kid can see that we are bored.

  3. There are things I generally don’t like doing, but because the activities involve my kids, I actually enjoy the experience (at least not hate it). It’s nice to spend some time and bond with the kids. But in my unsupported opinion, the activity has to be something you and the kid both enjoy in order to make an extraordinary connection…something your kid will remember fondly many years from now.

  4. I don’t necessarily NOT support you; I think that as your kids become older and then realize that you made efforts to do things with them that you did not find all that enjoyable, they then treasure the memory that much more because they knew you made the effort (and sacrifice) for them. At least, that’s how I look back on those experiences with my parents. My daughter has already expressed that once or twice, and that makes my heart really swell.

  5. You are such a great dad; I know your kids will look back on their childhood and treasure many, many memories.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about the things you mentioned; about how parents and children tend to drift further apart over time. Lately, I feel so disconnected from my parents, and I’m not quite sure how to feel closer (it doesn’t help that we live thousands of miles apart!). I guess this is just a part of being an adult, huh?

  6. For me it’s not so difficult to find things to bond with my daughter over. Afterall, we’re both very girly. Now, if I were to have a son, I wouldn’t have the slightest clue on what activities to do with him.

  7. Great post! I totally agree.

    When I was growing up, my mom worked hard to stay connected with me. We both enjoyed music and she always stayed up to date with what I was listening to and shared the music that meant something to her. She took me (usually with a pack of girlfriends) to concerts all through high school, even when our church (my father was the pastor) criticized her for it. During my adolescence, the music we shared kept an open line of communication. It kept her foot in the door of my life during a time when many kids slip away from their parents.

    I know I will do all I can to stay connected with my daughter as she grows. Like you said, that’s what parents do.

  8. Thanks for the reminder on why I play princesses and tea party with my daughter. I’m so not a girly-girl, and she’d wear a pink dress everyday if she could! (And she does, if they’re clean!) It truly is another facet of actively loving our kids.

  9. I love your article, I think about me having my own kids and I like your relationship with your children. particularly your relationship with your daughter, I hope to have a daughter and I just wanted to see why little connect with their fathers…..always made me wonder why it happens… I’ve had several step-daughters who have done this(getting attached to me)so………..

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