O is for openness. I want to be very open with my children. One of the common experiences of children of my generation is that they never really got to know their fathers. That is they knew about them but they never really got to share some of the more intimate aspects of their life.
I try to be very open with my kids. In many ways that’s easy because of my personality. With people that I know and trust I can be very open. I tend to be more reserved with new acquaintances and unfamiliar circumstances. My children need to see in me the full range of emotions. Not just when I am irritable or enforcing discipline or even frustration because someone has drawn over the covers of our newly covered lounge. They also need to see the other emotions, sadness, disappointment and happiness in a range of situations.
Too often we can be guilty of not having enough time to sit with our kids and explain in their terms what is really going on. So we end up just having closed relationships that only deal with externals. The other day my daughter was talking on the phone to a friend. And she told this friend a whopping story because she thought that no one could hear here. But, I did. That day I took the time to talk to her about why she told the story. I tried to go beyond just dealing with the obvious lie. I had an opportunity to open up to her and say that I love her for who she is not for who she would like to be. I said that she didn’t need to tell stories for people to be her friend and that if they really wanted to be her friend they would like her just the way that she is. We talked about it. We were open. I was open to her about the fact that she was so very special just the way that she was. In the busyness of life it can be easy to just deal with problems quickly.
Openness required the commitment of time and effort into the relationship to ensure that we are able to talk about the stuff that does and doesn’t matter. Because it all matters in some way.