Ever since my pregnancy with Jude, I've been fascinated by families. I love to observe them - how they operate, their vibe, their cohesiveness, their strengths. I love to ask questions, especially of people who are a stage or two (or more) ahead of us. I love to consider what we might incorporate into our own family life and to learn from the families who have gone before us (and alongside us, too).
Dan's sister Michelle and her husband Tim drove a few hundred miles out of their way to spend one more weekend with us while they were still here in the US. As parents go, Tim and Michelle are an absolute treat to observe. They are over a decade ahead of us from a parenting perspective and recently launched their second child to college. Both Dan and I are inspired by the way they have so beautifully and gracefully navigated the transition.
Michelle fired up her computer so we could all Skype with each of the 'kids' and hear about how college was going for them. (So fun!). During these conversations with their kids (and with us) Dan and I noticed the way they listened.
I mean, they really listened.
Dan attended a training session for work on listening several years ago. They talked about the levels of listening, with the two lowest forms being listening to argue, followed by listening to tell your own story. The two highest forms are listening with curiosity and listening to understand. Tim and Michelle are at that top level, listening with curiosity, with attention, with an eagerness to understand. It was beautiful.
In general, Tim and Michelle related so well to their older kids. I loved the way they could appreciate each of their kids' unique giftings and how they encouraged them to follow their hearts. They were also so wonderful with our kids. So patient and gentle and kind.
Tim and Michelle are Indigo's godparents, so Indigo in particular was pretty much in awe of them the entire time (and so very sad when it was time to say goodbye.) Truthfully, we all were.
Thanks for coming out of your way to see us, Tim and Michelle. And thank you for setting such an inspiring example as parents!