I joke with my kids that if growing up with me has taught them anything, it’s that mom isn’t perfect! I do wish, however, they wouldn’t so heartily agree with that statement!
After hearing a sermon on “Four things every parent should know” I asked my daughter what she thought of the message and if it related to us. She smiled. I knew what she was going to say. FYI, if you don’t want to hear the answer—don’t ask the question! She looked at me with a twinkle and said, “The part about listening and not trying to jump in and fix it.” We laughed. It’s sooooo me! I’ve worked hard to listen but it hasn’t come easy. Thankfully my sweet girl said I’m much better than I used to be, but what was left unspoken is… I still have some growing to do!
It’s so easy to jump in and “fix” whatever our kids are struggling with, hurting over or angry about. Our kids may need us to step in and help, but first they need to feel heard.
“Okaaaay”, my defensive self responds, “the fact that I’m trying to help solve the problem proves I heard what was said doesn’t it? “ Hmmm, I think I’ve had this conversation with my husband but the shoe was on the other foot… I want Brad to acknowledge my feelings, empathize and ask how he can help. I don’t want “fix-it” Brad when I’m bearing my heart, I want “listener, compassionate” Brad. Our kids want the same thing.
When our kids are hurt the Momma Bear comes out . When they struggle in school the Principle comes out. When they make a stupid choice the Enforcer comes out. We may need to put on one of those hats, but it might not be the first one we should pull out of our parenting bag. First we need to listen, then ask questions—find out what’s going on the head and heart of our child— and THEN we take action. Sometimes the “action” is to let them handle it.
It’s hard to stop and listen in the midst of a busy day, but I assure you your kids will remember the times their mom or dad stopped to listen and process with them far more than most anything else you do. If you’re not sure if you need to stop and listen (or if it’s a situation that can be handled with a quick response) take a breath and ask the Lord for wisdom (He will help!) and do as He leads. Let the laundry pile up, let dinner get cold, let the athletic practice be missed, let the other kids wait… Stop, listen and then fix it…maybe!
Your view of God: God is a great listener. Do you need to take some of the burdens of your heart to Him? Curl up beside Him, unload your fears, anger, worry and mistakes. He will listen. His Spirit will open up His truth and love to you and give you exactly what you need.
I love the LORD because he hears and answers my prayers. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath! Psalm 116:1, 2 NLT