What You Can Learn About Parenting From Wine Tasting

Posted on October 1, 2019

I was at a wine tasting event recently and couldn’t help but notice how dialed in most people were to the experience. It was interesting to observe how the first sips of a new pour activated a different taste—oaky, fruity, smooth, tart, or sweet, to mention a few—for different people. And they all seemed to enjoy the moment, regardless of whether the wine was to their taste or not.

There was one thing in common, however: Wine tasting was all about sipping and savoring the flavors in a relaxed state of mind. Then this thought crossed my mind: What if each of these people (mostly parents) could actually take a hint from this experience and apply it to parenting.

Like fine wines, our children are all different, and each interaction with them (positive and negative) evokes a different feeling. If we were to simply relax and enjoy the moment—sans judgment — just as we did at the wine event, wouldn’t that make us better at parenting?

I shared this with a parent sitting next to me, and she immediately said, “Oh! I never thought of that!” She went on to say, “You know I thoroughly enjoy wine tastings, but I’m the most impatient parent!” We exchanged numbers, and she called me a week later to pass on this comment:

“This week was my best parenting week ever! My six-year-old lost her lunch bag, my nine-year-old forgot her homework at home twice, and my thirteen-year-old used a curse word at school. Before I reacted to each situation, I thought of our conversation and entered the discussion with each child with only this in mind: ‘My children will bring different feelings and flavors to my life. How I am going to react to them will determine my experience and relationship with them.’ So I decided consciously that, just like at a wine tasting, I would soak each feeling in and draw out the flavors of each happening with no judgment. After all, I don’t know what I’m getting out of every new bottle when the wine is poured in my glass. I’m just keeping my eye on learning what I like and dislike, all the while just sipping and not rushing or reacting.”

Clearly, I didn’t have to say anything more. We never know what we are going to be faced with in our children. Even they don’t know! We have no power over that. What we do have autonomy over, though, is our response. That we can fully master… well, most of the time. And that is good enough to create healthy connections and lasting relationships with our kids.

So slow down, savor the moment, be present, open-hearted and open-minded, so you can soak it all in and enjoy the ride into the unknown with your children. Your attitude will determine the trajectory of your parenting ride and shape the life skills of your children.