I need to warn you, Sister.
I wish someone would have warned me. I wish an older mom, who had gone through this had sat me down and warned me that if you don’t STOP teaching, STOP TALKING at your child, and if you DON’T STOP PARENTING and just sit a while and LISTEN, you could deeply hurt your relationship with your child.
There is NO possible way I am the only mom who has felt the heartache that accompanies failing your child in this way.
So here I am, bearing my sin, my fault, my short-coming before you in HOPES that you HEED this warning and pursue your child before it’s too late.
It is easy for moms to start out the mothering journey with the best of intentions. You may think, “Oh, I have always put communication with my child at the top of the priority list.”
I would have said the same thing.
After all, my major in University was Social Sciences! I wanted to be a Family Counselor or a Children’s Ministry Pastor/Leader! I took college classes focused on LISTENING, for crying out loud!
What had happened to me?
Was it all the years of craving adult conversation and struggling with selfishness? Did I get tired of the daily mundane and loose the passion for the moment?
I truly believe that the truth and reality is that in the daily grind of life, raising toddlers and children, it’s easy to unlearn good skills like active listening because you simply aren’t practicing them throughout the day.
In the midst of actively teaching my children to be good listeners, I had also trained myself in something over the years: being a good teacher.
All those years of having littles ones to teach and train taught me how to be a really good teacher and pretty well versed in facilitating conflict resolution amongst my seven children. I was a PRO in some regards. I mean, after all, this was my profession and I took it seriously! I prided myself in being an intentional mom. Not perfect, but alert to the need of listening. It was exhausting, but it was worth it. I dedicated my life to my family every day!
BUT over those years, while I was teaching my children to be respectful, good listeners, I was unlearning how to really listen.
As I was juggling the demands of eight to nine people on a daily basis, sometimes being talked to by more than one at a time, I untrained myself to be able to slow down and be all there with one kid in the midst of the chaos.
I was good when I was away from it all and able to connect with the kids one on one, but in the midst of everyday life taxicab driving kids to basketball and piano, feeding the family three meals a day, homeschooling, and everything else, I didn’t practice or prioritize LISTENING enough.
I had a million things on my mind and my children who craved talking to me could tell I was preoccupied mentally and unable to hear them.
I trained myself in how to be good at teaching, but not good at listening.
BE CAREFUL FELLOW MOMS! DO NOT ALLOW YOURSELF TO LOOSE THIS SKILL OF LISTENING and if you never had it, get it and do all you can now to have self-control over the natural reactionary tendencies of a mom to want to lecture or teach.
I know it’s hard because you have like 30,000 words you desire to get out in a day and you can’t remember the last time you had an uninterrupted adult conversation, but you need to be careful not to become a woman that just talks all the time with or without your kids.
I know you are staring at those cute little toddler’s faces and teaching them how to talk and listen to you, but take the time to teach yourself how to listen too. And don’t just do it once. Do it every day, throughout the day, for the rest of your life. FOR REAL!
Listening and hearing what your kids are saying has to be a higher priority than a clean house or even getting work done. Because I will tell you, sometimes you cannot have both.
Choose what is ETERNAL–Your relationships.
“So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift [quick, ESV] to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath [anger, ESV]; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” James 1:19-20, NKJV
Remember that it is truly loving to take the time to connect and listen.
Love is patient and kind… it bears all things! 1 Cor. 13
It takes patience to sit and listen for however long it takes. It takes kindness to care what is on the mind of your child! You cannot “bear all things” if you don’t know what there is to bear!