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The Kid Connection

by Patti Gras

I don’t have kids, but I do have 3 nephews and a niece I absolutely adore (ages 22, 18, 16, 12). They are smart, sweet and very responsible. They were raised that way. Yes, I am like a proud parent who believes his or her kids are special and extraordinary. There is nothing wrong with that. The challenge is how do I keep myself connected to them?

I can talk to them or text them or email them, but how deep are these conversations? Not very. I believe the challenge is having profound, soul and heart connections with them. I attempt that when I see them. I start by asking them what was the best part of your day and what was the worst part. That gets them talking for sure. I also connect with them by helping them with homework. I don’t push myself, I just let them share. Sometimes, they choose not to use me, but they know I am there when they need me (except for math, physics, chemistry etc.).

I also write skits for them when we have family gatherings. They love that. All four of them are extroverts and they enjoy acting! This really helps us connect through creativity and the arts. I often wonder how little we know each other, but I know we have a soul connection and I do the best I can. I don’t judge them, and that also helps a lot. I can do that because I am not a parent so it is easier to let them be who they are. I do practice tough love when I feel I have to give them feedback if I believe they have done something wrong. I do have to act like an adult, but the most important factor in connecting I believe is trust and to have that they have to feel safe with me. I have no idea what they think about me, but I know I am doing okay when they smile each time they see me!

2011 Texas Conference for Women speaker Patricia Gras is an ardent storyteller, whether it is using the medium of television or music. Her current award-winning show “Living Smart” with Patricia Gras is now airing on over 200 PBS channels across the country. Across her career, has produced and hosted some of the most respected television programs in Houston, including, “Latina Voices: Smart Talk with Minerva Perez and Sofia Adrogue.”