Here, we talk about the benefits of breaking the ice for when your child’s interaction with another persons child, for the first time- results in two dads having to decide whether to engage in conversation with a complete stranger; or not!
I spoke to a stranger recently – yet there was no danger!
Subsequently, I think I made a new friend!
I definitely extended my social contacts for when I next do the school run!
What am I going on about?
Opening up a conversation with a parent whom you have never met, yet whose son(s)/ daughter(s) share the same class together at school, can be an anxious or awkward moment, when parents paths cross as their children interact together outside of the classroom and in the presence of mum/ dad.
I normally work till late in the day so I am unable to do the school pick up regularly.
Yet now and again, a window of opportunity arises for me to do just that; to be the one who my daughter first sees on her exit from the classroom, as I escape from the office early.
OK, admittedly I obviously know some parents to interact within the playground, while we await our angels to be dismissed from the days class.
And if I’m in the mood after a long, though shortened day, I’ll generally make the effort for a “ hello” or some small talk.
As I’m sure some fathers can relate, traditionally the collection point is predominantly female orientated, so with this in mind, I normally give a smile here and there, but very rarely engage in a full-on conversation, as I prefer to collect my little cherub and just head to the park or home for tea.
Again, there are a few Dads from my daughters class who I know and who respectively play the lead parent role.
Now and again we chat, catch up or exchange pleasantries, but sometimes, being men and putting it bluntly- we just can’t plainly be arsed! And that’s fine too!
On this particular day, however, my daughter and I chose to go to the park from school and it was here I made a new friend.
For some, this can also be a great opportunity to rest or check your phone while the children run ragged in the play park to exert any remaining energy they have from their day.
I personally, love to observe my daughter from afar interact with her peers as it enables me to witness her independently grow and develop emotional & social skills through play.
It’s a beautiful thing!
However, when my daughter spotted a boy from her class she wanted to go and play with (love her confidence!), this put me and the boys dad in what could have been an awkward position, as we had never met before.
After a few minutes of silence as we laughed with our children playing and done all we could to not make too much eye contact, we could have parted ways prematurely, yet I chose to break the silence by introducing myself.
Admittedly though, after a long day, I couldn’t initially be arsed!
Once the ice was broken, two dads soon realised they had more in common than just their children being in the same class. Notably, we were both comic and gaming geeks at heart!
Subsequently, the time flew as our children ran around and safely played, while we talked about everything from trying to get our heads around Minecraft, sharing nostalgia on 90s games and TV, sharing our love for the MCU movies alongside both recent and upcoming Disney + Marvel series & talked about our own childhood reading of comics, as well as sharing how we enjoy reliving our geeky pastimes with our children.
This has all led to me making a new pal and knowing when I next do the school pick up, I know a dad I can confidently confide in regarding my inner geek passions!
It has also left a positive imprint on my well-being having connected with another dad.
I would like to think I left a similar mark with this gentleman?
What’s the conclusion?
Me and the dad in question could have not made the effort.
However, by doing so, I personally enjoyed a jolly good chat and have made a new friend. My daughters bond with this man’s son also blossomed through this interaction and we as fathers also demonstrated some strong communication and interpersonal skills to our children.
If you can relate or if you struggle to ‘break the ice’ in such social situations, why not get out of your comfort zone from time to time and introduce yourself to someone new.
I generally start with: “I’m Shane by the way”, if I meet a parent for the first time, after a few minutes of our children interacting together.
Who knows, you may make a friend.
At the very least, it’ll make the time go faster when next at the school gate awaiting the bell!
Never overlook the surprising, positive impact we can all have on one another, through simply opening up a conversation.
BY Shane @ DMT
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