Today I want us to explore a different obstacle of connection that you may not have considered: Fairness. That might sound like a strange leap but stay with me. Growing up, I was the youngest and my brother was six years older than me. My mom, dad, and brother all shared the same birthday month. What this meant for me was a bonus birthday every year. My grandparents tended to spoil me already, but they certainly weren't going to stand by and see their youngest grandchild sit and watch everyone else opening presents and not have anything for him. As a kid, this was the best thing ever, but looking back as an adult, I question how healthy this was for me. It was communicated at a young age that we should try to make things even for everyone - that is what is "Fair." And this is something I definitely brought into my parenting.
As our kids were growing up, we tried to make sure the budget for birthdays and Christmas was even for all the kids. We tried to make sure each kid had the same number of items in their stocking. We wanted it to be "Fair." This also translated into how we connected with each of them. We tried to have special connection times with each of them - taking them out to the park, out for coffee, or some kind of outing. As an overwhelmed dad of four kids, this meant I would often choose not to do anything because I couldn't see myself being able to do something special four different times that month. So I would choose to do nothing. I was so focused on trying to be "Fair" that I ended up short-changing all of them.
As the kids got older, I began to realize this unhealthy pattern and began to look and see what each of the kids needed. One might need more extended time with me to just talk and connect, one might need a new pair of shoes, one might need to go on an adventure with me... they didn't all need the same thing at the same time. My goal turned into seeing and meeting the need vs. trying to keep things "Fair."
This month as you seek to connect with your family, seek to connect with each member of your family in a way that is most meaningful for each relationship. And don't get caught up in the trap of making it all "Fair." We hope this article blesses you! If you ever want to reach out for follow-up questions be sure to send us an email at Support@Tacticalsportsgear.com.