Learning that we had a father-son expedition in the Himalayas, the reaction has been universal, “What a great bonding opportunity.” But “bonding” seems limiting and beyond motivational. Especially with offspring abundantly ready to break free. Let’s wrap our minds around the concept of bonding alongside the rhythm of letting go.
Indeed, an emotional bond was part our journey but we shared so much more. Every second was an onslaught of present-centered focus. This step and the next mattered more than anything else. Each meal was coupled with reflection on the day. Jaw dropping awe trumped exhaustion. A fifty two year-old’s context intersected with a seventeen year-old’s epiphanies. Pride infused routine glances. Quiet conversation was inspiration in the dark. Risk was brushed aside with a smile and a new handhold.
Parenting, done right, is a climb into the clouds. Uncertainty is the path to perspective. Clarity leads to more questions and discovery. Mountain climbing seemed to be the ideal place for our increasingly rare ‘teachable’ moments. Yet, a mountain in the far reaches of India is not required to have your own tapestry of bonding and letting go.
This tapestry is created by sharing an experience.
An event, a moment, a weekend, a visit, a vista - when shared - leads to bonding. This is easier to do when the “sharee” is your kid who can’t drive off. But come 16, and his newfound wings, the young adult needs to be invited back for an experience.
Memorable experiences sustain an invisible bond.
Be the architect of shared experience. Creatively craft your experiences.
• Going to a movie isn’t the answer. Making a movie is.
• Dinner out is too easy. Creating a dinner is deliciously visceral.
• Giving a gift is too one sided. The gift of time lasts forever.
• Playing a board game is okay. Rolling the dice on a new adventure is pure magic.
Dividends from your mutual experience will unfold well after it has passed.
You secure a bond when letting go is a distant memory.