This is going to be a short post, but an important one for everyone who is a parent and has friends. We are always looking out for new lessons on life, even if they show up in unexpected places. And we were so touched by the events in the following anecdote that we felt compelled to share our experience.
A few weeks ago we discovered the importance of having child-friendly friends. A friend of our’s parents invited us to their new house after having retired here in Spain. It’s a beautiful Spanish villa perched atop a secluded valley with a pool, a putting green, and 4,000 meters of orchards and wild terrain to explore. Basically, the perfect setting for kids to go crazy!
They also invited many other people to this shindig to celebrate the new purchase, but no one we knew personally. However, from the first moments of our arrival, our kids created a feeling of family and high energy that was noticeably missing from the scene. Our friend’s parents are grandparents, but their grandchildren are back in the U.S. so they were happy to use our children as surrogates.
A lesson for us as parents
It became immediately clear that as soon as we sat down with the first beers in hand that our children were in good hands. Someone was always aware of where the kids were. They even took turns playing with them or keeping them busy somehow. They went swimming, picked lemons, went scavenging, even watered the copious amount of plants and grapevines that covered the patio.
All we had to do is ask where ‘are the kids?’ and someone knew. We barely had to lift a finger to look out for them the whole weekend. It was like being in parent-heaven. That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy their presence or play with them as well. But it was almost like these new-found friends were purposely looking out for us so that we could relax and have the same worry-free experience as them when they weren’t watching the children.
The boys were loving it too. Especially when our youngest got ahold of the hose and sprayed every one of us at the outdoor dining table. They had never before gotten so much attention from so many different people in their young lives.
Building trust in children
Children should feel safe in the presence of all adults, not just their parents. They become much more socially adept and forming relationships at a later age becomes much easier. Being cautious is good, but trust is even more important. And our children are growing up with much more confidence and independence knowing that most of the adults around them are there to help and look out for them. As long as we know them.
And for us, it’s very reassuring to know that we can rely on other people to watch our children as well. It’s an important part of our development as parents knowing that we’re not the only ones who care for and cherish their safety and well-being. It isn’t only refreshing but heart-warming as well. It was a weekend we won’t soon forget!