When my daughters were tiny infants I looked forward to their upcoming childhood, watching them grow and doing activities with them, having a good time together as a family. I don't think I ever thought about it being something my husband and I would have to creatively plan for and schedule. Our family...having fun together. It would just happen. Naturally. Right?
Well I was so wrong. As each daughter was born into our family, a new little personality was added to the mix. As they grew, especially as they got into the elementary school years, we began to realize that we had to create some Shared Interests for our family to take part in together.
So...we bought a horse.
Now, many girls, as they were growing up, went through a phase in which they loved anything horse related. I was not one of those girls. Neither my husband nor I had ever ridden a horse. We had never put a saddle on a horse. We knew nothing about how to care for a horse. Nor did we have a great desire to. But still...we bought a horse. Candy was her name.
Our friend, who had given us this creative idea of buying a (cheap) horse in order to have a shared interest with our girls, taught us how to feed Candy, put the saddle on her, and ride her. Sort of.
Usually when parents are teaching their children a skill, it is something that they themselves have already mastered, at least somewhat. Well this wasn't the case with Candy.
So on Saturdays the four of us would entice Candy in from the pasture where she was boarded, attempt to saddle her, check her feet (like we would know if something was wrong?), and then we would take turns "riding" her.
When we first began this Shared Interest adventure we thought: How will four of us take turns with one horse? Will one horse be enough for four of us? Oh yes. One horse was plenty.
As I look back on this experience I wonder - What were we thinking? We knew absolutely nothing about what we were doing.
But, you know, that wasn't the goal. The goal was to do something together that everyone in our family could take part in and enjoy. Not only did we spend time together out in the pasture with Candy, but many hours were also shared together in the tack store figuring out what we needed for this horse of ours.
As you might try to come up with a Shared Interest for you and your kids, remember it does not have to be something in which you are the expert. Learning about it together with your kids is half the fun!