I admit it! I am an observer of any kind of interaction where children are involved. Perhaps my voyeurism stems from my teaching days, when much could be learned observing interaction among children with children as well as children with their parents. Social situations provided the grist for helping me determine my approach to meeting the needs of the children I taught. Observations without interference, keeping a lid on making judgments, can be difficult, but it can provide a deep understanding of a child’s level of self-confidence.
As a grandmother of two young granddaughters, I have enjoyed writing about my interactive experiences with May and Eloise. Having grandchildren is truly a gift. Much as I enjoy planning activities and excursions for them, May and Eloise reward me with countless pleasurable experiences in return. I define it as the “law of increasing returns.” Both my husband and I are fortunate that we are a part of their lives. When we are with them, they provide us with memories to treasure during their absence.
As I sit at my computer, one of those treasured memories runs through my mind. During our granddaughters’ recent visit, I mentioned to May how proud I was of her varied interests, especially skiing. May enthusiastically responded that she really enjoys skiing and is looking forward to her return home when she and her father would once again hit the slopes. As we spoke of her many varied interests, May suddenly interjected, “I would probably be sitting around all of the time if it wasn’t for dad making me try new things.” May’s simply stated sentence, illustrated the profound affect Jeremy has upon her growth.
May’s acknowledgement and appreciation of her father’s care, is a supreme compliment to Jeremy. Through his gentle, yet firm, approach to skill development, May now skateboards, surfs, expertly rides a bicycle, swims, skis, and feels comfortable trying new sports. No doubt about it, Jeremy reaps the benefits of May’s prowess as well. He has groomed a partner to share in the many sports that he loves. May and Jeremy have become a cohesive team, sharing in tomorrow’s memories through their cycling and skiing moments today. As Eloise matures, her turn with dad is rapidly approaching.
Jeremy and Nancy, understand that parenting is a partnership, a team effort. Both bring to parenting their own areas of expertise. By exposing May and Eloise to new experiences outside of their comfort zones, Jeremy is building their confidence to take risks, an integral part of childhood development. As a seasoned teacher of young children, Nancy offers May and Eloise her knowledge of coping skills as they travel the bumpy road towards maturity.
When I think back on my own childhood, my most memorable moments are the moments I shared with my dad: walks through the woods behind our country house, pennies hidden by him in the sand on the beach in order to keep my brothers and me entertained, removing my fear of water by teaching me how to float, quietly creeping up to see deer grazing in a meadow, and countless other moments that continue to keep him alive in my mind’s eye. Now, as I watch May and Eloise interact with their dad I think about how they too will one day reflect upon these shared moments with deep love and affection.