“Listen To Me With Your Eyes”

My mom tells a story about when I was about three. I was babbling on about something (me?? babble?? πŸ˜‰ ) and she was giving me the “uh-huh” and “hmm..” replies. I stopped my story, got her attention and told her to “listen to my with your eyes!”

We’ve all done it, haven’t we? Our little ones have been jabbering on and on and eventually, we get distracted. We’re still partway listening, but our main focus is someplace else. There are so many important things to do. There is so much to decide, remember and organize. Our brains are just busy places! Important things need to be done.

But then, a precious little soul wants to connect with us. Sure, the topic of conversation might not be the deepest one. What the imaginary monkey said at the pretend tea party isn’t exactly a headline story… to us. To that little person, though, it is vitally important. She wants to share her heart with you, one of the most important people in her world. To her, it means everything to have her mama (or daddy) really listen to her.

So many parents wonder how their jabbering little one suddenly turned into a distant teen. I think that, often, it happens during those missed moments of connecting over a tea party. We want our children to talk to us when they get older, but by then many of them have given up. They try and try to tell us about what is important to them and we are too distracted to spend time talking about silly little things. Once they have what we consider to be “important” things we want to talk about with them, they’ve withdrawn.

What if we all made a point of treating whatever is important to our little ones as important to us? What if we choose to turn off the computer screen, put down the phone, close the book or stop whatever “important” work we’re doing and really listen when they talk to us? Isn’t raising our children well and loving them more important than most of what keeps us busy and distracted all day? What if we got down on their level and listened with our eyes? What kind of difference would that make in our relationships with our kids now, in their teens and even when they’re grown?

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25 thoughts on ““Listen To Me With Your Eyes”

    • Thanks, Lindsey! I write these parenting posts as much to encourage and challenge myself as anybody else, but I’m so glad to hear that you appreciate it! πŸ™‚

    • LOL!!! That’s adorable!! My eldest is past the repetitions, but boy can she tell a never-ending story. It can be so hard to remember to enjoy it and really connect with her. When I do, though, I really end up having fun! πŸ™‚

      Thanks so much for the comment, Danielle!

  1. Valerie says:

    Would love to use this picture during all the workshop I give to Early Childhood educators!! Not just parents, but teachers need to be reminded–thanks!!!

  2. This is something that I have been trying to do. I was convicted of this a few weeks ago especially when I realized that my children were in effect doing the same thing to me. Modeling something always works so much better than just telling them to do something. I realized I could tell them to look at me when I was talking to them all I wanted to, but if I am not willing to show them the same courtesy then I would probably continue to repeat the phrase “Look at me when I am talking to you” over and over.

    • So true! I wrote a post quite some time back about our children being our reflections. They reflect back our attitudes, actions and, often, our emotions. When my girls are cranky and behaving badly I can usually look back and see where my own attitude or actions triggered it. Ouch, huh? πŸ˜‰ Forward progress, that’s all we need, not perfection. Just keep at it, mama!! πŸ™‚

    • I agree! I know it makes all the difference for me when I can tell that I’m talking with somebody who is sincerely listening and interested. Thanks so much for the comment, Judith! πŸ™‚

  3. This really touched my heart. Lately my son (2) has been jabbering and asking so. many. questions. I can’t keep up. I really need to listen to him more.

    Thank you for sharing this at the Saturday Round Up! Hope to see you there next week too πŸ™‚

  4. This is so true. It is so easy to get busy and just only give them half our attention. Many years ago when my oldest was a young teenager, I was doing dishes and he was talking to the back of my head.

    The Lord convicted me right then and there to turn around and give him my eyes, just as you said. We need to give them our full attention when we can so that we can keep their hearts and they will know that we really do care about what they have to say! Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Lilly says:

    Thank you for writing this. Although my son is only 12 months its a good reminder for me to give him as much attention as I can.

  6. Allison says:

    I am thrilled to have run into your post about “listening with your eyes.” I have been using this concept in a social skills class I am a part of at my kids’ school. These 4th graders are having trouble “getting” the idea of thinking or listening with your eyes, which is huge for building friendships and good social skills. I am going to use your examples this week to help them connect with the concept. It’s a major building block for the rest of the lessons– so thanks! I think some light bulbs will go off this week when I explain what it looks like for a mom to listen to her children with her eyes. Perfect example!

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