There are occasions, with the need of connection prominent, where we take the opportunity, and for a moment we connect. Using such a space, recently with my 13-year-old daughter, I suggested we go to ‘the connection zone’, to sit in the ‘connection chair’. It was said in jest, but it proved a point in retrospect: the nexus of life is found in this connection zone.
What is the connection zone? It’s any location between two individuals, and within them as persons, of shared ground. It’s where two people can be themselves in the company of another; lost in their authenticity, where barriers to trust are non-existent. We put on no dishonesty in these situations—there’s no pretence.
This is certainly a zone most of us pine for, especially in the family setting.
Counselling Our Children
As parents we have a role in counselling our children, which is not about telling them what to do, but listening to them—to their inner needs of soul. Such counselling can only be achieved from, or in, the connection zone.
The greatest indicator that such a zone has been created is the fact that two persons—a parent and a child, in this case—might become lost within the moment to be truly themselves with no barriers to disclosure. The achievement of this zone occurs more casually than we recognise. Try too hard and the zone becomes impossible. Pry too much and the antenna of suspicion is raised.
This is where we may be confused; the role of parental counselling. It’s almost nothing about advice, yet almost everything about warmth, empathy and genuineness. This can be a hard thing to learn when we’ve been most apt to issue advice—where that advice has been needed. Certainly as kids get older, especially in the teen years, there’s far less need for advice and so much more need for warmth, empathy and genuineness in simply listening and ‘journeying with’.
Nothing is beyond the realm of understanding when we reach such a zone between two people of like mind. As minds and hearts enjoin, a meeting ensues, perhaps lasting mere minutes. It’s all that’s required. A bond has formed and it can be developed.
Targeting the connection zone is meeting another person, perhaps one of our children, and with warmth, empathy and genuineness we find ourselves trying their shoes, feeling with their hands, and seeing with their eyes; gaining a grasp for their lives. From the connection zone we achieve an authenticity so often missing in relationships we want to be close with. In this zone we’re completely ourselves with another.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.