When one of my sons was young, we built an awesome tree house together. Building that tree house was an adventure. It was fun and exciting.
From that experience of building a tree house together with my son, I learned a lot about what building a relationship with my kids should look like. Using the acronym T.R.E.E., I’d like to share with you how building a tree house is like building a relationship with your child.
If you’ve ever attempted to build even the simplest of tree houses, then you know that it’s not as easy as it seems. And just as it takes time to gather all your tools and supplies to build a tree house, it also takes time and planning to build a relationship of trust in your home. I’ve got some ideas for you on another blog post, How to Spend More One-on-One Time with Your Children.
Requires a Firm Foundation.
A tree house needs to rest on a sturdy a foundation. Your relationship with your child requires a firm foundation also. It’s a foundation built on truth and love. They need to know that you’ll always speak the truth to them and always love them for who they are. They must know that they can trust you with their feelings, that you have their best interests at heart, that you care for them, that you love them, and that you will always be there for them. As I’ve said in another blog How to Stay Joined at The Hip and Heart with Your Teen, our kids need to be able to trust our track record and actions over time if we desire a firm foundation.
When building a tree house outside, we build with the expectation that it will regularly be faced with inclement weather. So we prepare for those storms by reinforcing walls and nailing down the roof well. In the same way, we must approach relationships with our kids knowing that storms in life can come just as frequently. Expecting storms means that you are prepared to protect your children, to fight for your children, and to lead your children when they begin following the voices of this world. Expecting storms can also mean knowing ahead of time How to Tackle Tough Topics with Your Teen.
Sometimes, after a harsh storm, the walls of the tree house may become bent in or a ladder may be torn down. It’s important to constantly check for dangerous changes in a treehouse. Similarly, you should constantly be on the lookout for dents or weaknesses in your relationship with your kids. Though the hurts may be small, they so easily lead to bigger problems if not dealt with quickly.
Don’t stop at just seeing a tree house as a metaphor for gaining a better relationship with your kids…I challenge you to go build one! Spend some time working hard with your kids on a project you can all enjoy. And once you’re done building, you’ll have the rest of your lives to fill it with memories together.
Do you have any memories playing in a tree house when you were a child? Please share your story below.