Of all the things you taught your kids when they were growing up, when your son gets to be a teenager, you realize those two magical words were all you really needed to teach him. Evidently, they can answer nearly any question.
How’s school going? How’d practice go? What did you guys do after the game?
I’m not one to give advice when it comes to kids. So call it an observation.
I’ve noticed that when we’re sitting in our hot tub for 20 minutes, I hear more than “good” and “nothing” from my teenager. Suddenly, I hear a funny thing that happened at school. How algebra is going. What teachers are good and which ones are dolts. And there’s more than the superficial stuff. I actually find out what’s bothering him, what’s exciting him. Occasionally, my sage advice is requested. Holy cow!
I usually read about how hot tubs and spas provide “therapy,” meaning hydrotherapy and what they do for muscles, aches, pains. Maybe they offer a bit of therapy of the other kind, too.
Why? I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it’s that you’re in the same space with no phones, no mp3 players, no books, and in the case of my own hot tub, no television. It’s a way to feel unplugged for a while. As far as I know, there’s not a waterproof phone that allows you to text while sitting in a hot tub. (And if anyone brings one home, it better be extremely impact resistant, too.)
So if you’re a bit sneaky and can occasionally time your soak with your teenager without invading his or her space, you might find that communication opens up a bit. Ironically, I’ve found it’s not going to happen if you hop in and start asking questions, so I’ve learned to keep my yap shut. When I do, I generally learn the answers to lots of questions I never have to ask.
And if we decide to spend some time soaking in peace and quiet, each to his own thoughts, that’s not such a bad thing either.