JAMES 1: 19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
I recall one day sitting in a restaurant during lunchtime by myself. I love to look around restaurants that are crowded and just people watch and see the different interactions that people have with their children and with their spouses. You can pick up so much about a family and their structure just based on body language and dynamics of voice tone and observation.
On this particular day I remember a little boy with the cutest blonde locks trying to get his mother’s attention. The whole time the mother is on her cell phone. I’m not sure what she was doing on her cell phone, but the little boy only wanted his mother’s attention for a moment to listen. He kept saying, “Mommy, mommy, listen to me, listen to me, listen to me,” and he kept saying it over and over and over. It was the type of repetition that made me, as a mother, want to jump up and say, “I’ll listen to you.” It tugged at my heart so much that it made me very aware that when my own children are asking for me to give them attention that I need to listen.
We have seen that type of dyad with children so many times in our society that it’s become the norm. That sometimes the expression, children are meant to be seen and not heard, is taken to the extreme. Many people truly do feel that they don’t have to take the time to listen to a child. As I counsel different children and bring their parents into the session, the child will begin to say something to the parent and the parent will immediately interrupt and try to explain their side. I will caution the parent that their job is to listen. The child will then continue to explain how they felt about a certain encounter and then the parent, most often in my counseling sessions will say, “Why didn’t you tell me that?” And again, most often I hear a child respond, “I did. You weren’t listening.” So powerful are those statements between children and parents that I can recount a number of times in sessions where I have heard this type of conversation and it resonates in my memory.
Clear out the noisy clutter of your life today and JUST LISTEN to your child. You might just learn something.