Taking everyday mundane family occurrences and turning them into memories…
We had a small tragedy in our home this morning. Charlie’s nose came off. It would only take me 2-3 minutes and some super glue to fix it – but what an opportunity for a memory!
I went down to my “children’s ministry closet” that is still stacked full of boxes from nearly 20 years as a children’s pastor and prayed, “Dear God, let one of the first three boxes I pull have my doctor outfit!”
The first box looked promising – as it had the doctor table cloth in it! But I struck out with the next few boxes and it looked like my plan of coming back up stairs dressed as a surgeon was not going to happen. Then I remembered something I’ve said more times than I can count in workshops across America,
“Kids love to pretend and as adults we are handicapped by our need to be realistic.”
So I just grabbed what I did have access to – a poncho and sombrero, that surgeon’s table cloth and walked back upstairs and introduced myself as “Doctor Poncho” and said, “I hear you have a dog whose nose has fallen off?”
My four year old, Luke, lit up and brought me the dog and the nose for examination. Of course, I treated this as a very serious matter, but not one that wasn’t treatable. But we would need some tools! So of to the garage we went for some of his daddy’s tools.
Soon an operating table was set up on the coffee table, and as long as we were operating we went ahead and turned him into a super dog like Bolt! (One of Luke’s favorite movies.)
The entire surgery took no longer than ten minutes, but it was a lot of fun. Luke even went and found a bowl and put it on his head so he could look like me!
He held the flash light and helped with the examination and held Charlie’s paw throughout the procedure in case he was in pain and to help him not to be scared comforting him just as we do when we have to put ice on a bump or pull a splinter. We talked about how we help him when he is hurt and how he was helping Charlie while he was hurt.
Finally, Charlie’s nose was like new. But not only that, Luke’s day was off to a great start. Every time he called me “Daddy,” of course I corrected him saying, “Daddy? Who is that? I’m Doctor Poncho!” Although, when it was all over he followed Doctor Poncho downstairs and I let him see me take the costume off and he said, “See, I knew it was you daddy!” And I just said, “Of course it was me – but isn’t it fun to pretend?”
We have a choice as parents. We can just fix the toy (which often I do, of course.) Or we can choose at times to take these opportunities to make a memory. To enter into our child’s world of pretending and make believe and play with them. When you do that, you strengthen your bond with them. That is the currency of relationship with children. Too often we want to kids to be more like us – to behave and grow up. Yes, they need to mature and learn and obey and all that. But if you want them to listen to you and respect you and love you, you need to go their way at times too. That is what relationships are all about. It’s true in your friendships and marriage too, right? Give and take. Why wouldn’t it be true with your kids. Do make believe.
What are you going to do TODAY or THIS WEEK to enter your child’s world? Have a tea party? Build a fort? Be an alien or a cowboy or just have a pillow fight? Or perhaps it will be something as crazy and unpredictable as being “Doctor Poncho!”