"Mom! You're not listening to me!"
Have you ever heard those words from your kids? I have. And it makes me cringe every time.
Yesterday, in my introduction to this series, I mentioned that getting closer to our kids isn't just an automatic thing. Just because they live under our roofs doesn't necessarily mean we're "connecting" with them.
I have teenagers. And if you also have teenagers, you know how tough it is sometimes to connect with them. We parents want to just pour what little bit of wisdom we have into our kids while we still have them in our homes. We feel this sense of urgency to talk to them about the world and everything they will need to know once they're out and on their own.
But today I want to encourage you to just slow down and do one thing for your kids: listen.
No matter what age your children are, just listen. Eventually they will tell you what's on their hearts. Don't push. Don't prod. Just close your mouth and listen.
I have found that listening to my kids is good for me for a couple of reasons. First, because it's so hard for me, listening is a good exercise in self-control. How often do I just space out when one of my girls is going on and on with a long story? But they know the minute they lose me. And that's when I hear, "Mom, you're not listening to me!"
Ugh. I hate it when they're right.
The second reason I've found that listening is important is because it empowers our kids. Think about times when others have really paid attention to what you've had to say. Doesn't it feel great? Don't you feel like your words mean something? Like your words have power?
Our kids live in a crazy-busy, loud world where everyone seems to be shouting for attention at once. If we're not careful, our kids might end up feeling like their voice cannot be heard, like their voice doesn't matter at all.
Today, take a minute to show your kids that their voice does matter. Close your laptop. Turn off the radio. Look your child in the eye. And listen.
This post is being linked to Amanda's "Weekend Bloggy Reading" at Serenity Now. Head over there for some great posts!