It can be really hard to drop everything and just listen to our kids. It can be hard when we are being pulled five different ways. It can be hard when we are trying to get ‘one more thing done’. The thing is ¦ it matters. It is so important.
How can you show your kids that you love them, respect them, care about them? How can we raise their confidence, help them become leaders, teach them the value of their voice? Listen to your kids. Stop what you are doing and give them your full attention.
Listen to your kids:
I went to the University of Pittsburgh and I have spent the last ten years either teaching a class or working as a play therapist. All of that education could not have taught me the one lesson that I learned in the most unexpected of places ¦
I watched an episode on Oprah once, when I was a teenager, and it has stuck with me for all of these years. Here I am, now the mother of four children, and the words of that episode repeat themselves daily in my ears.
Maya Angelou was the guest that day. She is full of so much wisdom, so I knew that what she was going to say would have great meaning. Ms. Angelou told Oprah that one time her son brought her a picture that he had made. He had drawn it and colored it himself and when he had finished, he was excited to show her. (I am sure that you can picture your child doing this same thing!)
When he showed it to her, she didn't give him her full attention, but instead, just said something like its nice and then continued to cook dinner for her family.
He walked away, saddened, but what he did next was what stuck with me. He took the picture, ripped it up and threw it away. Later, Maya Angelou found it in the garbage can and asked him why he would do such a thing to such a beautiful picture and he said that it was because she didn't like it. She found out that by not giving him her attention, he took it to mean that he didn’t like his picture, that it wasn’t good and that it wasn’t important.
She vowed then & there to pay attention to everything that he showed her, because he truly valued her opinion, just as I know that our children are valuing ours. When they say “Mom, look at this!” and we respond with “Just one more minute” or “Hang on a second, honey,” what our kids hear is “this is just a little more important to me right now.” It isn’t what we mean, but it is what they hear.
Today, lets try to STOP what we are doing and really LISTEN to our children. It matters to them. It matters to you.
What a wonderful feeling to know that someone cares about you enough to really LISTEN.