Don’t you love it when your children are all tucked in bed and you get to  breathe or read or twiddle your thumbs?

One recent evening, my 13-year old son came into our room.  Just as I was settling into thumb twiddling, he asked “Mom can you come and lay with me while I go to sleep?”

I’d been reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, a book about relationships, parenting and the power of vulnerability.  On the pages I’d just finished reading Brené referenced John Gottman’s “sliding door” moments. The sliding door moment is when we come face to face with a choice, exactly the moment I experienced with Ethan standing next to me.

In this moment, we have the possibility of connection or turning away.

Of course it doesn’t boil down to one moment but rather the trend established over time.  Gottman says that trust erodes very slowly if we continue to turn away.

Now let’s return to my moment.  I so wanted to turn back to my book and the warmth of my cozy bed.  However, in front of me was a clear choice. Did I choose to connect with Ethan, or turn away from him?  What would you do?

I realized my thirteen year old son was offering me a precious opportunity to build trust and share affection.  I dragged myself out of bed (with some effort & audible moaning, I confess), and padded down the hall after him. I’d made my choice.

Next time you have a sliding door moment and your first instinct is to ignore or turn away, take a moment to think again.


Notice when you say no and when you say yes to a sliding door moment.

What is a moment you are going to say yes to this week?

Share your thoughts here in the comments and pass this on to a friend.