Listening to Our Children

As a parent, I have become acutely aware of noise! Our neighbours, none of whom have little children, will tell you that my kids are crazy noisy. I have found that now more than ever before, I need time when there is just quiet. To be honest, there are moments when I just block out whatever is going on around me. The problem with this is that I often don’t really listen to my kids – I might be aware that they are talking but I don’t really hear them. 

Catherine M Wallace writes this:
Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.

There is such wisdom in this. 

Life as a parent is busy, there are endless jobs, endless lists, endless errands to run – is it just me or is the washing basket never empty? It is so easy to get swept up in the doing, that we fail to stop and hear. I have three daughters and they are all very different, but the change in them when I take time to really hear them is massive. We all know what it is like to have a friend who asks a question but isn’t really interested in the answer – it is frustrating, it makes you feel uncared for and as though what you have to say is unimportant. And this is how it feels for our kids too.

When I stop and take time to listen to my children, to notice the tone of their voice, or the way they look when they are talking, it not only brings about change in my children as they feel heard and valued, it changes me. It makes me appreciate their quirks, their beauty, their individuality. It helps me to see how I can parent them better, how I can help them with something they are struggling with, or share in their delight and joy. It binds me ever closer to them as I share in what is going on for them, and it makes me grateful for their noise in my life.

When I think of my heavenly Father – the one who flung stars into space, who spoke into being the waters and skies, who sent his son to the cross for my redemption, I am blown away that He should listen to me, that He should care about the little things in my life and the big, that He should make time for me again and again, and that He delights in listening to me. In some small way I hope to demonstrate the Father’s heart to my own children through taking time to really hear them, and to show them love in every situation they find themselves in.