My oldest child is finishing his first year of school this month, and this has been a year of big changes for both of us. The new routines, relationships, independence, and expectations that we wrestled with in the fall have become familiar habits. One of my favorite habits from this year has become the ride home from school, when we get to talk about what he learned that day. Some days he has very little to share, but others he is bubbling over with excitement while he describes a surprising lesson or impactful activity.
I wonder, if you take a moment to think about the last week, month, or even the last year, what have you learned? Not while at your job, practicing your favorite hobby, or researching current events. What have you learned about the heart and mind of your teenager?
Parenting is rich with teachable moments, but connections deepen when there is also an abundance of learning moments. Children feel known and loved when the adults in their lives take the time to understand them. Pastor and author Timothy Keller described this beautifully when he wrote,
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.”
Today, take a few minutes to have a learning moment with your teen. The conversation doesn’t need to be complicated to become a meaningful moment of connection. Start by asking simple, open-ended questions, like:
Who? Who is your favorite/least favorite teacher? Who is your funniest friend? Who do you look up to?
What? What do you value most? What do you like/dislike about that activity? What do you love about yourself?
When? When are you the happiest? When was your last silly mistake? When do you feel most loved?
Where? Where in the world would you love to visit? Where do you see yourself in a year? Where do you like to go when you’ve had a bad day?
How? How do you do that? Will you teach me?
Hopefully integrating more learning moments into the conversations you have with your teen will deepen your connection, and allow you to answer with excitement when someone asks you “So, what did you learn today?”.
Project BestLife Specialist