Apr 22, 201103:40 PMOKC Dad Connection
Show Them Social
“So, what are we going to do?”
That’s the first question I’m usually asked. My 12 year-old son was in my car for our Thursday overnight visitation. “Well, we’re going to go downtown to this party-like deal where all of the Keep It Local businesses have set up booths. It’s their one-year anniversary. There will be food and stuff.” He gives a grin and a groan. He thinks he knows what the scene will look like. “I don’t know anyone who will be there. I don’t really want to have to talk to adults I don’t know,” he says. “It will be fine. We’ll just check it out and see how it goes. We don’t have to stay long,” I say. After a bit more protest, we make the turn to head downtown.
We arrive that the event, sample the food, and mingle a bit. I purposely introduce him to the people I talk to. Usually, the adult would extend a hand and my man would do likewise. The adults would ask the usual questions of, “What grade are you in?,” etc. Those who had met him before talked about how big he was getting and so on. I knew several people there, so we made several short visits. We eventually agreed that we’d done this deal and headed to the parking lot. When we got in the car, he asked me if it was all I thought it would be. Predictably, I said with a smile, “Yes, and more.” He smiled, cranked up the radio and away we went.
I had two purposes for attending the Keep It Local event with my son. First, I just wanted to go. It’s a great organization and I wanted to be a part of the anniversary party. Second, I wanted to take my son because: (1) I’m proud of him and (2) I wanted for him to see me interact with other adults at an event of this type.
I think it is important that we show our kids how to act in a group of people. Show them how introductions are made. Show them how to mingle. Show them how to begin a conversation, have a conversation and wind up a conversation. Show them that talking to adults is not so scary. You can vocalize instruction all day long, but when you show them, it makes the instruction more “sticky,” something they’ll remember and hopefully emulate when they’re in their own situation.
Let your age appropriate kids go with you when and where you go. Look for those opportunities to show them social skills. Let’s face it. Either you’ll teach them or they’ll learn from someone out of your control.
You be the one.