Call me crazy, but the 15 years of improvisation comedy experience I have prepared me the most for raising kids. No, not because kids are funny. No, not because it’s a team effort. No, not because things change and you need to adapt. It’s because the single core rule in improvisational comedy is to be supportive. You never say “no,” you say, “yes, and.” You add. You build. The stronger you support, the better the scene is, and the stronger the bond between you, your actors, and your audience is.
The same principle applies to kids. The more you support them in their endeavors, the stronger they become as individuals, the stronger the bond you have with them, the stronger your family unit becomes, and the stronger the lives around them get.
Being supportive goes hand in hand with encouraging, but yet it’s more primitive. You’re supporting needs, wants, ideas, and drives. You help your kids by going to work or being a stay-at-home dad; by taking them to activities and teaching them. When you encourage them to share what they’re thinking, you are letting their imaginations go and seeing what they draw from their thinking. When you help them pursue their extracurricular activities, be it sports, arts, cooking, building, etc., they will fundamentally understand that you are here to help them. Sure, teens might seem ungrateful, toddlers may not cooperate, but all in all, you support them. You are helping them grow and be better people.
As a human being, this concept really should apply to everyone in your life: be supportive of your family, your friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc. That being said, your kids will learn the most from your support. As an adult, people help you out all the time; kids haven’t had that luxury. Going to the gym? Have a gym buddy or maybe you participate in a class? Working on a project? Have a team or boss to go to for support? Fighting in the military? Have a squad with you? Support is much more readily available as an adult if you seek it because we understand how supporting people work. Our kids don’t yet. That’s why it’s critical that you show them.[mc4wp_form id=”16061″]
Now, that’s not to say being supportive is the same as giving in. You are also supportive when you teach your kids’ boundaries, set limits, have reasonable expectations, and respect them. When you show your children you support them; they become more confident and cooperative. They learn to support each other, and most importantly, you’re empowering them to help themselves.
It’s funny; it’s 10 am on Saturday morning of October 22, 2016, and here I am writing a blog post about being supportive in the waiting room of the dance school that my boy and girl twins are taking lessons!