My three year old repeats for the fourth time, “MOM! Can I have some milk?” The sound of her voice finally pierces my concentration and I turn to focus on her. “What did you say?” I ask. She repeats her request, probably wondering how I could not have heard it. I tear myself from the computer, and go to fetch her long overdue glass of milk. No wonder I have to ask her five times to get her socks on…she’s just imitating my listening!
I’m a terrible listener when I’m doing two (or three) things at once. As I’ve been working on these listening lessons for my children, I’ve been ashamed to realize what a bad role model I am of this quality. How am I supposed to teach them to listen to me when I don’t listen to them? That’s got to change!
I have to have practical steps of action planned out. Otherwise I just have good intentions that never go anywhere. So, for developing my listening skills, here’s what I plan to do:
- When my children talk to me, stop whatever I’m doing and turn to look at them. While there are a few instances that I can’t stop what I’m doing (like in the middle of a delicate cooking operation), most of the time I can spare a minute to focus on their requests or needs.
- Don’t mindlessly respond. I hope I’m not the only one that does this! “Yes. That’s good. Wow! Is that true? Oh my,” is a running commentary that I keep up in response to them telling me about, oh, the latest adventure of their My Little Ponies or the conversation they had with another kid at Bible study. I’m missing so much by not taking the time to focus on them!
I feel like such a bad mom right now as I write this! I’m glad I’m working on this project…it’s really good for my character, even if they don’t get anything out of it! If you have any suggestions or stories about your own listening struggles, I’d love to hear them.