I was on Special Time duty one particular weekend and had done 20 minutes with each of my younger two children. Next, it was my oldest son's turn. He's 7. Originally he'd said he wanted to play football, which I quite enjoy doing, although I find it exhausting, but then at the last moment he changed his mind and said he wanted to raise some money for charity instead.
For more on Special Time, read A Powerful Way to Make Sure Your Child Feels Loved.
Trusting In Special Time
The idea of asking people for money has never been one that I am comfortable with, although I am more than happy to be asked myself, so I was not completely delighted with his choice of activity. Of course, it was his Special Time, so I had to put that to one side and make myself available to him anyway!
We sat and designed a sign listing activities (with prices) that people could choose to do. I thought we were just in the planning stages, but no, he had already prepared resources, and he gathered everything up and asked me to drive him to “somewhere with lots of people.”
Off we went!
We arrived in town and were just thinking about parking when the timer ending Special Time went off. My son agreed that we should pull over and talk about what to.
He asked if we could do the fundraising anyway, but I explained that we didn't have the time that morning because we needed to get back for lunch very soon. I was expecting disappointment and maybe even a Staylistening session, but, although there was certainly a tinge of that, he was actually okay with the decision. Instead, he raised the possibility of coming back to do it another time and he was quite happy on the drive home and full of ideas of how to take his project further.
Special Time Helps Me Be A More Supportive Parent
I felt my son got a lot out of this Special Time. I know that often I stick my nose in when he's working on something and I'll say things like “I'm not sure that will work” or “How about trying it this way?”
I know that's not so helpful in giving him the confidence to develop his own skills and make his own mistakes and it's an area I'm really working on, so I was happy for the focused practice, and really conscious of being a listening ear, and quietly enthusiastic and supportive of his suggestions.
I was also very conscious that I had to say yes – even to something I was really very uncomfortable with! All I could think was, “I'm going to have to do this!” and I just let the feelings of nervousness sit with me – there was no getting out of it!
I'll be taking it to a Listening Partnership I'm Sure!
My son is now keen to continue with this project and has already made plans to look into whether he can get an official collection box from the charity he's chosen to support and to think of some more activities he can add to his list.
And I have made plans to continue to be fully engaged in this project – from the back seat!”
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