Like most parents, I have learned about quality family time and children, from getting down on the floor and playing with them. My warmest thanks to all those children, and to their parents. I pray I can communicate what you have taught me, about quality family time.
I learned a lot about children from the following people.
- Dr Ashok Ganguly never gave up on any child no matter how weak one was. His sense of humor made me want to be like him. I owe my sense of humor to him. Completely. He is the epitome of knowledge. He was always available to me. He was pure fun.
- Mrs. Sapna Ghosh, who demanded discipline while teaching and made me feel like a ‘prince’ when we were not in study mode. She treated us as adults and made us rise in our own eyes. She was always present to answer any question we may have. She taught me ‘iron hand within a velvet glove’.
- Mrs. Mitali Ray, who never behaved like a teacher but always as a friend. She made us super comfortable in being us. What a rare treat for a teen! She would be one of the last to leave the school. She inspired me to ALWAYS make my children ‘comfortable’.
- Mrs. Rangamani who taught me what makes children learn. She was imaginative, playful, tough, and so smart. She could take the most troublesome kid to eat out of her hands. Seeing her teach was a wow factor. She inspired me to be a playful father.
- Thanks to my uncle Sri Ram Mohta for being a role model my entire life. From him, I learned the impact an adult can make in a child’s life. He inspired me to inspire.
- Thanks to my elder brother Ashok Goidani who always made me believe, as long as he is there, I will never be harmed. From him, I learned what feeling secure can do to even a shy child (like me). He taught me that my children should believe that I have their back.
- My father Sri Deendayal Goidani has been a fearless man. I have learned ‘courage’ from him. I have learned ‘hard work’ from him. I have learned from him ‘Never never never ever give up’. He showed me my children will learn so much by observing me.
- My mother taught me to get along with every kind of a person. She never complained. Ever. She believed that sharing is a virtue that defines life. I guess that is what influenced me greatly to create this site. She taught me to have a big heart. Her behavior made me believe, I will never have a shortage in my life.
It has been a privilege to be conducting workshops and writing about parenting over the last few years. Listening to parents and talking with them about children and childhood, has shaped my thinking more than I could possibly convey.
When I began working as a trainer, my clients were primarily adults. We spent hours talking about their childhoods and about their children. It was clear how important it was for a child to have a good connection with a parent or another adult. Naturally, when we had our children, I was determined to establish and maintain a strong emotional bond with them. I quickly realized this was going to be challenging.
The attachment between parents and babies is so much instinctual. When we dream of being parents, we remember how easy life was as a child. We believe, life will be equally as easy as parents. We never visualize how daunting parenting can be!
Even after conceiving, we think, parenting will be as easy as they show in the baby soap ads.
In the earliest days of the child, we have a lot of help. It is relatively easier. Parenting gets complicated as soon as the child becomes active and verbal. Here is what I went through…
- Regardless of whether I had a good day or a bad day, was in the mood or not, my daughter Mahek always wanted me to play with her.
- She wanted to interact with me when I didn’t feel like interacting with anybody.
- She wanted my complete attention when other urgent things had to be done.
- She wanted me to watch, even when she was playing alone.
- She wanted to play in the ground when I wanted to be at home.
- She wanted to play at home when I wanted to go for a stroll.
She always wanted my TIME. In other words, she always wanted quality family time.
I remembered the impact adults had on me. Even though it was difficult I had decided to be a great parent. Hence…
I never admonished her for she wanted quality time with me.
I never put her in front of the TV because I had something else to do.
I never told her I had a bad day. That was my problem, not hers.
It was easier said than done. I was surprised at the intensity of mixed emotions these things evoked within me. Many times I found myself wanting someone to pamper me rather than get down on the floor and engage with her. Mahek’s seemingly bottomless need for attention and play flummoxed me.
Every time I caught myself with this need to be pampered, I would feel guilty too. Simultaneously, I would defend my desire thinking to myself, I am giving so much of myself, it is never enough for her. And now, when I want to relax, she wants me to play! This thinking was always with amusement and paternal pride, never with irritation.
As time went by, it became easier. I started to see what a powerful positive force, this quality time, was having in Mahek’s lives. I loved giving her (and my son Neeraj) quality family time.
What did I do during this quality family time?
When she would succeed, quality time would be asking Mahek, who was a swimmer and an athlete and a debater, how are you tackling your new accomplishments? (I would be a news reporter and she would be the glamorous star)
When she was emotionally hurt, I would never ask her to move on. Quality family time would be, me asking her how was she recovering from being hurt. (I would pretend to be a doctor who has got a patient who is hurt)
When she would be all chirpy and bubbly, quality family time would be asking her what was the secret sauce for her youthful exuberance. (I would pretend to be a king who is asking a secret from his princess)
When she did not want to swim and competition would be just ahead, quality family time would be telling her, some leaves have fallen in the swimming pool and they are feeling lonely. Let us get them out of the water and reunite them with the lawns. (We gamified swimming)
Our quality family time would be ‘playful parenting’.
Our quality family time was joining children in THEIR world. The objective of quality family time was – focus on connection and confidence. Normal behavior would be – giggling and hugging, laughing and teasing, and encouraging children to take the lead.
We helped them work through their emotional blocks and mental blocks. We also learned how to mutually solve other tricky problems. Thanks to quality family time, parenting was fun and still is FUN.
Today Mahek and Neeraj have grown up to be fine adults. They are independent, humble, ambitious and focused. I think we made the most of family quality time together. I pray I have done justice to do what I learned from some amazing teachers.
Why is quality family time important?
Imagine living in a family where no one interacts with each other or initiates plans and no one is ever there for anyone.
How does your future look like in this family?
Will you become an introvert? Or will you be spoiled because of the wrong company you get outside your family?
Imagine you are living in a family which interacts, supports, motivates as well as solves problems together.
Now surely, you will be accepting towards other peers and adults. You will not fear to make mistakes because your family will always stand behind you no matter what!
This is the reason for spending quality family time with your children! They will grow, think outside the box, motivate and inspire others as well as help people when in need.
You need to spend quality family time with your children for their better future and for their responsible nature.
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