Monday, February 15, 2010

listen so your kids will talk

dear emily,

when we started sending our children off to school, we
made the mistake of asking, "how was your day?"


"well, what did you learn in school today?"


not a great start, but we were fast learners, and instead we
began asking, "what were two good things that happened
today and one hard thing?" or "tell us the favorite lesson
you learned today."

that went a little better.  joe white of the kanakuk camps
teaches parents to ask open ended questions with follow
up queries like, "wow, how did that make you feel or
how did you think of that?"

he calls it  "how to listen so your kids will talk."  it's much
harder to do than you would think.  i'm pretty terrible at it.

since you still have young ones, who ask a million questions
a day, you can hardly imagine monosyllabic answers from
them. i remember thinking, "my teenagers will never be like
those  in movies."  it's heart breaking until you realize, they
can't really help it.  their bodies are going crazy on them, and
they have to battle tough kids all day.

remember "freaky friday?"  it's good to try to put ourselves
in their shoes every now and then.  after that, just listen to
them and don't always tell them the better way to do every-
thing.  they want someone on their side.  they want a safe
place where people love them and believe in them.

one of our dear ones dropped a bomb on us recently, and
it was the hardest thing in the world to just listen and
encourage, when i was dying inside to holler, "are you
kidding me?" the truth is that i trust this child's heart and
know he/she will come out on top.


"children are a reward from Him," psalm 127:3