If there’s something about parenting, helping, treating, or healing that I could shout from the rooftops, it would be the importance of connection. Small, tinctured doses of connection. Big, touching moments of connection. Every day. Tiny, quality moments. Long hugs, big laughs, devoted attention type-of-connection.
From an attachment perspective, these moments of connection matter tremendously. From a helping & healing perspective, these moments create trust in relationships. For any relationship, connection says, “I see you. You matter. Let me make time for you.”
My son is 15, weeks away from turning 16. This past weekend, everyone else in our family had plans, so I poked my head in Jack’s room and said, “What are your plans for Saturday night?” Mind you, asking a teenager on a date is like trying to be around a cool kid when you don’t feel so cool. Try not to make a big deal about it, try to be casual, try to act removed just a bit. He looked up from his phone and said, “No plans, why?” I casually said, “No big deal, just checking. Ryan & Sophia have plans, but I don’t.” Jack’s eyes lit up – “Do you want to go get hamburgers and see a movie mom?” Oh, my heart. My sweet little boy, now donning a mustache, towering me by 5 inches, all sinewy muscles and hormones. “Sure. That would be nice.” Jack, “Cool.” and back to scrolling.
Fast forward to Saturday night. Between my offer and then, there was homework, after-school activities, chores, disagreements about homework and due-dates, obligations, and frustrations. One wrestling meeting, one swim meet, 5 dinners, lots of homework check-ins (breathe – his brain is still growing, it’s normal to need LOTS of reminders), drives back and forth to the barn, and bedtimes. What I’m getting at is that the date on Saturday night became really important – for both of us. It’s like the yummy stuff that fills in the cracks of all-things obligation, rules and structure. It’s a moment of connection where I’m letting my teenager know – you matter. And I’m available to you for fun and relationship-building even when everything else around us feels stressful. I’m unconditional with you and no matter how tough the week is, I’d never take this time away from us.
He drives us to the movies (not a bad driver, but still terrifying). He opens the door for me to the theater (ok, some of this parenting stuff is working). He orders SO MUCH food and sugar (worth it!). He sits close and whispers questions and comments about the movie. It’s bliss. And after, he doesn’t want to rush home to video games or friends. He asks if we can go get ice cream (more food??) and plays DJ all the way home (So.Much.Rap).
Not every moment is like our movie night. Not every moment with your kids, friends, patients, partners, etc. will be either. But these are the moments that matter – don’t mistake that. When you have moments of connection, they become the foundation of the relationship that says, “No matter how tough other moments may be, I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. You matter.”
Think about the next week for you. Where will you make time for connection? With a friend, your partner, your child, your patient, or maybe for yourself. Be intentional. Connection matters.
If you’re a healthcare provider, you need connection – join us at The Provider Lounge here.
Thank you – with compassion & kindness,