The Word "Watch" Says Much

Last night, my son and daughter were watching a movie and I was starting to read a book, when something Jacob said hit me. As the movie was starting he kept telling me to "watch" whenever this penguin would appear. He seemed to get additional enjoyment in having that moment with me. Alone he liked the penguin, but with me the penguin became something to share and something for us to experience together.

I started thinking about how often my kids do this. When they see something funny or interesting or even scary they invite others (like my wife and I) into the moment with them. "Look at this," they say. Or, "Watch this Daddy!"

Then it dawned at me that I am much the same. When I am watching hockey and an amazing goal is scored I will call Stephanie over to see it. If I am reading a great book I will share lines of the book with however is around. It is a natural response to something that stimulates me. I want to share that something with someone else.

My assumption is that this kind of behavior reflects something of the internal need we all have for relationship. We invite others into our lives by asking them to share different 'moments' with us. Using the material things around us, we extend a part of ourselves out with the hope that someone else will enter in. Our happiness in that moment is then dramatically increased when we feel heard and appreciated.

Of course the opposite is true as well. I think of how sad my kids would become if I never acknowledged and entered into their joy. I think of how marriage could deteriorate if spouses never opened themselves up to one another's interests. I think of how friendships would be impossible if people never shared one another's happiness.

In as small of an invitation as the word "watch" people are opening themselves up to one another. And as parents, spouses and friends we have a great power in our response to make a person feel good, heard, loved, valued, and known. Or else we can make them feel bad, ignored, small, unworthy and isolated.