Traffic is creeping along; people are texting and swerving to add dramatic effect to the commute. It’s crazy out there. I have found a few helpful ways to circumvent the road rage and connect with my son in the process.
I have a ten-minute car ride to my son’s school. We have a gratitude exercise that we practice while we ride along. I like to use the car as a bubble of connection. How many ways can I connect to him in this small space as we travel?
We each take turns listing three things that we are thankful for in our lives. It sounds hokey, but there are no rules on what we are allowed to be thankful for. I’ve heard bed sheets more than once during this exercise. I think it sets a nice tone for the day, and it reminds us both of what we have in our lives. I want us to have perspective on what matters. We are constantly thinking and comparing ourselves to others; why not reflect on what we have right now? I can have a challenging day and, when my son reminds us to do our “thankfuls” in the car, I catch my breath and redirect my focus.
The next connection tool I use is music. He is exposed to a diverse music selection for a six-year old. He listens to Credence Clearwater Revival and Helen Jane Long. I expect him to have an opinion on what I play. This allows a dialogue for the trip. He has a tough time with the instrumental pieces. But those are the ones I go to when I feel like he is having difficulty expressing his thoughts. I know, for me, instrumental music is a form of meditation. So in a way, I’m starting early with him. It’s those small habits as parents that children remember the most. One day he will thank me for the dreadfully long piano solos.
3. Scenery Discussion
The landscape from the car window can also get us talking. There was a particular day that we were riding a long and I received a call while at a stop light. I took it quickly. It was not good news. A family member had passed away and I had lost words on what to say while trying to concentrate on driving. It was just at that moment that we were passing a cemetery. I heard the sweetest words from the back seat. Angels like cemeteries, he said. At that moment I understood why I liked to explain the scenery as we drive a long in the car. These are moments that I look back on and think, hey the car ride is a special place. It is our sanctuary.
I want my son to be calm when he is the car. Hopefully that peace will stay with him throughout his life. The car ride can mean be different every day, just like life. If we’re prepared to face the car ride, we’re prepared for life.
Author: Michelle Taylor
Editor: Caroline Beaton
Photo: Google images