When was the last time you sat down and listened 100% to your son or daughter? Did they tell you about everything under the sun? Did you wonder if the stories, ideas and details would ever end? As you remember some of those times, I hope you have a smile on your face. Those will be the most memorable moments you have in life.
Life is busy. We hardly have time to look at our kids in the eyes when we talk about homework, eating, cleaning rooms and the next activity. It’s really sad. We hustle and bustle through our days and weeks. Before we know it, they will be grown and gone … and we will have missed the best part.
Some of the absolute best memories I have had with my kids are the moments when I listened to them talk as we rocked in a rocking chair, snuggled on the couch, looked at the stars on the trampoline or sat under a beautiful tree listening to the wind in the leaves. Profound statements often come from children.
Here are two really important reasons to listen to your children (and there are more):
#1: They deserve your attention, your eyes and your heart. They deserve to be seen and understood for who they are; not who you think they are. Who can they share that part of themselves with, if not you? There is a great person inside!
#2: How will they learn to be great listeners for others, and ultimately for their own children, if you do not model this for them? Think about how much you are constantly learning about communication, listening, relationships, work, etc. Wouldn’t it have been much easier if you had learned some of those basic skills as a child? Why not teach your kids now? It boils down to kindness and presence. You’ve heard the saying, “Monkey see, monkey do.” If kids aren’t listening, it might not be their fault. Maybe they are doing what they see adults doing. We teach them to listen, by listening.
If you can bundle up with your child in a chair, on the floor, in a bed or couch, or somewhere fun outside, I suggest doing it. Start your conversation with, “How are you doing today?” Or, “Isn’t this great? I love being here with you right now.” Ask general questions and they will open up like you wouldn’t believe! They need a safe place to express and share their curiosity, wonderment, joy, gratitude, excitement … presence.
Take the time to be with your children in a present and heartfelt way today. What does it feel like to be a child? What does it feel like to be heard and seen? They will love it!
“Success comes to those who listen.” ~ Michael Oliver
You can be a good parent or you can be a great parent … the choice is yours!
Enjoy your kids. They grow up faster than you can imagine.