Lessons of a new parent. #2: Reciprocity by Misha Lyuve

Apr 29, 2014

This post is a part of Lessons of a new parent cycle. (If you missed, here is Lesson of a new parent. #1 – Happiness)

Lesson #2: Reciprocity – relationship with your child, as any other relationship, has elements of give and take; pay attention to what you are taking.

It was a fairly cold February day during my paternity leave. Myself I wouldn’t even consider going out in such cold unless I really had to. But with the kids, there was hardly a question in my head – the kids loved being (or to be more precise, sleeping) outside.

As usual, Central Park embraced me with its winter solemn beauty and, on a cold day like this, it was desolate – very much to my liking. On the way home I reflected on how much I enjoyed this walk and arrived to the following question: while it seemed like I took my daughters for a walk, was it in reality visa versa – were they the ones taking me out?
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It is common to think about parenting as something one gives: whether it is food, comfort, entertainment or education; while a reward comes in a form of a child’s response (from a smile to an acknowledgement) or an accomplishment (from the  first step to college graduation.) But that walk in the park pointed me to a much more profound parent-child relationship exchange.

When my kids request my attention, I find ways to engage them; but in return they provide me with entertainment, and let me assure you, it’s top notch. On the surface it might seem that I am there to teach them something, but truthfully in this short time my kids have shared with me most profound lessons. They started even before I met them during my adoption journey and continue to this day (thus Lessons of a new parent). And on top as you already know, they take me on awesome walks.

When I acknowledged this reciprocity, the relationship with my children became that much deeper and more fulfilling. Notice what your children give you.

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