My mom tells a story about when I was about three. I was babbling on about something (me?? babble?? 😉 ) 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 Once they have what we consider to be “important” things we want to talk about with them, they’ve withdrawn.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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