The following is part of the continuing series of posts exploring the world of Compassionate Fathering. If you have any post ideas, topics you’d like addressed, or stories you’d like to share about your Compassionate Fatherhood, Tweet them @KyleBelanger1 using #CompassionateFathering, or email them to Kyle Belanger here.
I was the lonely kid.
You were the lonely kid.
Your kids, bro–sometimes they are the lonely ones, too. On a new playground, in a new city, with a new babysitter at a different time of day. And nobody is paying any attention to them.
These aren’t devastating times to a child, but they sure as hell are shattering to a dad’s soul–thinking of our kids being invisible to their peers and the grown-ups around them. So, what can you actually do to help out?
It’s kind of easy.
So much of my exploration into #CompassionateFathering came directly from my recent family holiday vacation. We took a trip to the self-described “happiest place on Earth” and experienced both ends of the lonely-kid spectrum.
Let’s focus on the positive here, shall we?
Realistic scenario, and one that played out in its entirety for us a few weeks ago:
Your playing with your kids, lost in laughter when you notice out of the corner of your eye the lonely kid (LK). She is obviously hoping you and your kids see her. She might be an only child (or not). Might just think your kids look like fun (and they are). Whatever the case, here’s your chance.
First step: Acknowledge LK. Say ‘hi’ from a distance and encourage your children to invite the new playmate into the fold. This might be slightly uncomfortable for your children, but the more you do this–the more you see the LKs, the less awkward it will get.
Next step: While your children are introducing themselves, you’re job is to locate LK’s nearest grownup. It’s vital that you make a connection. It might be simply to let them know that you are aware they are there, to offer a quick and cordial “hello,” begin a conversation.
Remember that you’re not looking for friendship, simply to acknowledge their existence and prove that you’re simply seeing their child. In the meantime, your kids have begun to play together and it won’t seem so weird when the overly-involved dad (you) is making a Lonely Kid feel not-so-lonely.
Honestly, posts like this seem unnecessary. And sometimes they are. But mostly they are a reminder that there are all sorts of kids around us, and not all of them have fathers like us.
I see you, bro.