James 1:19b says “EVERYONE should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
I made an observation this week, there is MOST definitely a difference between listening and truly listening.
My two oldest are a girl (age 4) and a boy (age 3) they are the best of friends! They play together great (of course they have their moments). One thing however is my daughter has always been more verbal then my son. She tries her best not to “run” him but she has always communicated for him, telling others what he means when his words were unclear, and directing the play. But, now he is 3 and wants to communicate for himself, give ideas for playtime, and have his thoughts HEARD!
Just this past week I asked the kids what they wanted for lunch. A simple question that I thought would only have a simple answer, but what I was in for was a BIG lesson. Even though we are working with my daughter at letting others have a turn first, and showing patience, as one could imagine it does not happen all the time (duh). So my daughter speaks up quickly that she would like quesadillas, then goes into this incredibly looooong narrative on how she wants: sour cream, no veggies, only beans, maybe a little meat, on a pink plate with salt and lime (and on and on and on). My Son starts to reply that he would also like quesadillas but keeps repeating his statement over and over while getting more and more frustrated because he thought no one could hear his thoughts. Now as a mother of 4 and a previous 5th grade classroom teacher I can hear several comments, stories, and replies all at once. My son though didn’t feel like I hear him because I wasn’t able to truly listen, by giving him the attention and responding to his comments.
That day I was able to start to see glimmers of how my son would feel respected by me when it comes to listening. He wants to be heard, he wants to be known, and what I feel like it boils down to is respect of my sons words. I need to truly listen to all my children. Yes, he can wait his turn. That is not what this is about, that I learned was all of us want what we say to be respected, heard and we want to be valued.
I pray the Lord would continue to help me grow in truly listening. A skill in patience and taking the time to hear with open ears and a open heart. That day I was in a rush, wanting to start lunch and move to nap time, I was thinking about what comes next instead of stopping and explaining to all the children they each will get a chance to tell momma what they want and for me to respond to each.
Lord I pray that I will learn what it means to be slow to speak and quick to TRULY listen to the words, thoughts, ideas, and dreams of my children. I pray that I will grow in patience when opportunities arise for me to sit and listen to each of my children. Thank you Lord, for always working on me as I try to reflect the patience, dedication, and respect you show us as in example of what it looks like to truly listen.
Join me in discovering and praying for truly listening skills.