The other night I met Kevin. Kevin is a late forty-something career consultant; for all but a few years of his career, he spent his work-weeks in various cities away from his wife and son.
Yet he and his son are very close. Kevin consciously developed rituals for the two of them and faithfully followed them.
For years, Kevin read books to his son. Every night. Long distance. As he put it:
Every book I’d buy, I’d buy two copies. We went through all the Harry Potter series together, and a ton more.
We had a standing routine. Every night at 7:30PM his time, I’d call him, we’d each open up our copies of the book, and I’d read.
If I was in a hotel, no problem. If I was driving, I’d pull over. If I was driving with a colleague, I’d ask the colleague to drive for half an hour while I read to my son.
It was great. It was a regular thing, a routine; I knew I had his attention, and he had mine. I really enjoyed that time.
How did that work out? Kevin says he has a rich, warm relationship with his son, now 17. I look at the glow in his eyes and his smile when he tells me about it, and I believe him.