Monday, February 13, 2012

Enter into One Another's Interests

Our hotel room artwork just happened to be
a flyer for one of the bands we saw.  Very neat.
When I'm coaching teachers about how best to build the language skills of children, I usually always start by discussing ways to "enter into the child's interests" or to "follow the child's lead" and "engage the child by focusing on their interests."  When building a relationship with a child (which is crucial before you can start trying to teach them anything!), creating experiences of shared enjoyment is really important.  And even more important is the idea of "entering into the child's interest" (not forcing our ideas of fun on the child).  Entering into a child's interest really builds connection.

The same is true of building or strengthening relationships with adults.  When we enter into our spouse's interests, for example, it builds connection.

It's funny, though, how often in my marriage relationship, I forget that I need to try to create experiences of shared enjoyment with my husband by entering into his interests.  We're lucky enough to have frequent date nights, since we have family close by, but too often, I think I plan date nights around what I find fun--dinner out, a nice long talk, a funny movie.  But really, he loves unusual music, and novel/interesting experiences, and learning new things.

So, I've been trying to enter into his interests more.  This weekend, we took a cooking class together.  We learned something new (how to make rack of lamb!), and it was sooo yummy.  Then, we went to Athens and saw one of his favorite artists,  Jeff Mangum (from Neutral Milk Hotel) play.  It was gorgeous and thought-provoking music, and we had a great time.  A connection-building time.

The cool thing about entering into someone else's interest, is that usually the experience actually makes us happy, too.  Not because we change ourselves or our own interests, but because the experience usually builds connection, and social connection is key to happiness.

Feeling disconnected from someone you care about?  How can you try to enter into their interests this week?

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