Filling in the Gaps
In the past two posts I have encouraged you to connect with your parents. First we explored possibilities of mutual exchange through family events. Then I asked you to think of ways you could connect even if you were separated by distance. This post will focus on you.
Keep in mind our goal: we want to establish long-lasting relationships built around trust and love, not just family genes. In order to develop collaborative relationships there must be mutual exchange.
What does mutual exchange have to do with the relationship you have with your parents? Well, collaboration and trust require “give and take” on both sides. In order to have a mutually beneficial relationship with your parents you need to know them. In addition, they need to be introduced to you as an adult.
Here are a couple of scary thoughts. In some cases your parents are still thinking about you as their child. You’ve never grown up, you still like the same things you did when you were twelve, and you will never question their authority or wisdom. Let’s take it even further and say that some of your parents actually feel they can still tell you how to live your life.
Of course, you don’t think of yourself in that manner so it probably hasn’t entered your thoughts that they might view you that way. If the prospect of such a scenario has you a little worried let’s look at some ways you can introduce them to the grown-up version of you.
* Share with them your favorite foods, restaurants, or recipes. Take them to a restaurant of your choice once in a while.
* Talk about the movies, plays, or TV shows you have seen. Explore the deeper aspects of the work and build discussion around the themes. This can be a non-volatile way to discuss politics, religion, or moral dilemmas.
* Reference the books you read by giving a mini-review and see if it is a topic they might be interested in. If they aren’t interested find out why and see what reasons they choose the things they read.
* Introduce your hobbies or favorite sports teams and see where you have similar or divergent tastes. Explore why.
* Tell stories about your life they have not heard before or share your dreams for the future. Ask about their experiences when they were your age.
* Share your life goals, your business and career goals, your vacation plans. Ask them what their life goals are and how they think they’ve measured up to them. In addition you might ask what they would have done differently.
The purpose in this exercise is to share information about who you are, and why, as well as honor the influence they may have had on your life and your accomplishments. In addition, you are engaging them in a process of sharing with you their triumphs and defeats. When this type of exchange is engaged in with honesty and sincere interest you build a solid foundation that opens the door to the harder stuff yet to come.
Do you have a story of that fits today’s post? Feel free to share it in the comments. I’d be happy to explore further any questions or comments you may have on the topic.