I was walking this weekend with my family, and at one point, my wife and 7-year-old son were ahead of me and my 4-year-old son. They were having a very animated conversation about what seemed like a somewhat serious topic.
I later found out that they were talking about a problem my son was having with some friends at school. My son mentioned the issue briefly on Friday, but I wasn’t able to get much out of him. Granted, he’s always tired after school and never in a chatty mood, but it hurt a little bit that my wife was getting so much more out of him.
This is something that has been on my mind for a long time– to some degree, since my earliest moments of thinking about being a dad. I have always had a good relationship with my parents, but I remember them trying to drag information out of me as a child. I even remember my mom saying that she was going to give up trying– telling me I should just let her know when I’ve got something to tell her (she never gave up though).
My wife recognized the writing on the wall early, and being the mother of two sons, knew to think about how to get beyond the “fine,” “good,” or “nothing” answers to her inquiries. Before she leaves for work, she tells them both to think about what they’ll tell her about their day when she gets home. When we’re sitting around the table, she’ll consistently ask all of us about the best part of our days, and share her own in a way that demonstrates what she wants to hear– she’s animated, she gives lots of details, and she finds a way to connect us. She also uses her time with boys to talk– I told her about the issue my son had on Friday, and she put it on her mental to-do list to talk to him about it over the weekend. She picked the right time (walks always seem to be best), and they had a great conversations.
Why is this important? My wife and I to both have a great relationship with our sons. I want them to see both of us as people they can talk to about anything. More specifically, there are times we need to have really important conversations and the lines of communication need to be open. You can’t start developing a relationship when it’s time to talk about drugs and alcohol, or sex, or gun violence, or their changing bodies.
Which brings me to the inspiration for this post. One of my heroes, and a great friend of the NYC Dads Group, Jim Higley, recently joined the Testicular Cancer Foundation (aka Single Jingles) as it’s Executive Director, and he asked me to join his team of bloggers to spread the message about testicular cancer.
- Did you know that Testicular Cancer is the #1 cancer in young men ages 15 to 35?
- Did you know that Testicular Cancer is highly survivable is detected early?
- Did you know that young men should be doing a monthly self-exam?