We normally talk a lot about the physical health side of being a HealthyFitFamily, but recently my daughter did something that made me think of the importance of emotional health as well. Our 6-year-old is often pegged, “shy.” We are often fighting that moniker as we don’t want that to ever become her excuse for not being social. When people use it around us, we often say, “no, she is just getting to know everyone slowly,” or something similar to that.
I often think of ways to get her to come out of her shell around people as I have never been the “shy” guy in the room. I think about her days at school and how she might be sitting alone at lunch or playing alone on the playground. I think how I can inject some humor into her day without being a hovering parent who shows up at every lunch and recess. I say this in jest as I know my friends will attest that I was “that” parent on the first three days of school.
Yesterday I decided to put a little note in her lunch box. I am sure many of you have done this as well. It’s the simplest gesture but it means so much to them. On this particular day, I wasn’t going to see her until later in the evening. She was meeting me at the track to hang out while her sister and a few friends were having track practice. The second I got to the track, she was standing there holding the note. She held it up and said, “And what about this note Daddy?”
I didn’t know what she meant exactly, although the look on her face made me feel like I was in the principal’s office in grade school.
“My friend saw it and said that’s a daddy note. Thanks Daddy, we were laughing,” she said with a huge smile on her face.
I was happy to hear that her friends had cool dads too. I was also happy to hear her use the term friend when referring to a kid at school. It calmed my feelings about her playing or eating alone.
Later that night she went to her room and taped the note to her wall. That’s huge in our house as she only puts significant things on her wall. It’s adjacent to her dollar that she taped up as a tribute to Sponge Bob and Mr. Krabs.
This reminded me of all the characteristics that make a family healthy. Although physical health is important, emotional, social, mental, and spiritual health are vital as well. We should all remember these as they are the moments our children remember most.