This is a true story. One that taught me a little bit about my communication skills.
My youngest son and I had a conversation (over 26 years ago) when he was about 5 years old.
He had received a toy for his birthday that was battery powered. One of those little Remote Control Trucks. After playing with it for a while the battery ran down so we had to put it on the charger.
While it was being re-charged he and I talked. I told him “When I was little, like you, there weren’t Remote Control Cars and Trucks to play with.” And he asked “What did you play with Daddy?” so I began to tell him.
I told him about my Sand Box, I had built him one and he had spent many hours in it and he also enjoyed climbing on a small tree we had in the back yard.
Anyway, I began to describe the toys I had back then. My favorite were the ones I could take outside to my sand box. Nothing technologically shocking but to me they were fantastic. They were called Tonka Toys and I still remember the joy of playing with the Bulldozer and the Crane. Those he could understand because I had bought him a few Tonka Toys and similar products for him to use in his sand box.
Then I talked about the games we had… card games like Go Fish and Memory. I also said a few words about the games Grown-ups played with “real” cards and board games like Monopoly.
I told him we didn’t have games like Nintendo of the Sony Play Station. Also the TV was only black and white. I showed him a picture in the newspaper that was black and white when he asked what that meant.
We talked about playing ball, “hide and seek”, and “Your It” type of games with other kids too. Plus I explained that I didn’t get to play in the snow because where I lived when I was little it never snowed. He liked playing in the snow so that seemed amazing to him… that I never got to play in snow. I was raised in Florida.
Anyway, after about 30 minutes of us talking he looked up at me with an almost sad expression (I can still see that look on his face) and asked “Daddy, did you have trees back then?”
I laughed and said “Yes, we had trees.” Then I explained that there wasn’t one in my yard and I wasn’t supposed to leave my yard so I didn’t get to climb a tree like he had in his yard. A look of relief came over his face and then we put the charged battery in his Truck and played with technology again.
Now, every time I see a “blank” look on someone’s face when I say something, when I didn’t communicate clearly enough for some reason, in my mind’s eye, I see that little face and hear the words… “Daddy, did you have trees back then?”