One of the greatest things that I have done as a parent is spending one-on-one time with my three children. We’ve shared so many great conversations and experiences together. However, some of the most powerful times we have had together were when we hardly spoke at all.
Since they were little, I have tucked them in at night, read with them, sang to them, told them stories and learned with them. I would then rub their backs as they fell asleep. This continued into their teenage years. They came to expect it and as they grew out of our evening bedtime ritual, when I walked into their rooms, they would immediately turn onto their stomachs looking for their back rubs. Not much had to be said – we established that connection from when they were very young.
The coolest thing about that experience: when times get tough or we are not getting along the best, I can still put my hands on their shoulder or give them a quick back rub and it seems to take away whatever is going on.
Not too long ago, I attended Easter Sunday at church with my two boys. My older son is now 24 years old and out on his own, so I haven’t been able see him as much as I would like. As we were sitting in the pews listening to the Pastor speak, I wanted to rub his back as I had done long ago in church, but for some reason I was worried that maybe he had grown out of it. Eventually, I got up the nerve and put my hand on his shoulder and give him a quick rub. To my relief he welcomed it and enjoyed it. It felt reassuring as we hadn’t connected in some time.
I believe that if you start that special connection with your children at a young age and be consistent with it, it can lead to a special bond that will last a lifetime. When times get tough, you’ll have that simple physical connection to rely on…even if you are upset with them or they are with you, and you are having a hard time showing love. It’s an easy thing to do, and no words have to be spoken, but it can help soften whatever is going on between you.
It does for our family.