One of the great things about being a stay at home dad is getting to know the friends of my children. My son has a good friend I’ll call X. They often get to hang out at our house after school and are even on the same soccer team. A few weeks ago X’s dad started a new job and was working longer hours as he became acclimated there. As a result, he asked me if it would be okay for his son to come over to our house after school on days they had soccer games. That way X would be able to get to his game on time. I was glad to help out my friend and his son. As a bonus, my son got to have his buddy over a little bit more often than usual. Following the third game that I’d helped with X, his dad sent me a simple text. “Hey Carl! Thanks for your help with X. I appreciate you.”
That’s all it was. Simple. Yet music to my ears. As I’ve thought about that text more I began to realize the importance of telling others that I appreciate them. Thank them for their help, yes. But, APPRECIATE THEM! Hmmm. And really mean it. I try to use my manners by saying please, thank you and excuse me and stuff like that. But how often do I take the opportunity to tell my kids and wife that I appreciate them? Not often enough. It’s fitting that my appreciation epiphany comes during November, when we observe a holiday about giving thanks. We need to remember to look for the good in other people and tell them that we appreciate them. It’s a little idea that could be a big deal. As a dad I sometimes find myself being critical of my kids for not doing something that was asked of them, irritating a sibling, leaving their stuff around the house and so on. What if I focused on what they’re doing well and showed them genuine appreciation for who they are instead of the negative alternative? Seems simple enough. I’m going to make it a point to tell each of my kids (and my wife) that I appreciate them during the next 48 hours. I’ll let you know what happens.
In the mean time, try it out on your family and friends. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.