Life and Lessons Learned
#3 Take a Knee
My husband and I have four children, ages 10, 9, 8, and 3. I cannot begin to guess how many times a day that I hear the word “Mom.” It is not humanly possible to listen to everything that follows this word. A million little questions asked over and over again. A million tattles and whines. A million demands and requests. A million seemingly senseless conversations that spin in circles. Last week my three year old said, “Mom.” I responded “Yes?” She asked, “Where do we hide the feathers?” Listen people, I am a busy woman. I do not know where we hide the feathers. As far as I know, we have no feathers. Was this a real question worth my time? I’m telling you, sometimes my brain has to turn of from hearing what follows “Mom…” It is for sanity purposes really.
Earlier this year it dawned on me that I had quit listening to my kids. I was so overwhelmed by the infinite summonings of my attention all beginning with “Mom…” that I quit listening. My children were receiving far too many “hmmm”, “uh-ha”, “oh”, “I don’t know”, “yeah”, and “is that right’s.” I became a master of holding on an entire conversation without listening to a single word. At some point my brain went from shutting off sometimes to most of the time. It was sad. I have read books and parenting articles on how to get my children to listen to me. Yet, I had stopped listening to them.
I was forgetting that mixed into these questions, tattles, whines, demands, and requests were little people looking for comfort, companionship, conversation, and care. Their tiny voices were saying, “get to know me, guide me, give me love.” I made it a point to really hear my children when they spoke. I found it more effective to listen when I was on their level, so I took a knee. Now, I look them in the eyes and hear what they are saying and respond accordingly. Do I do this all day and everyday? I do not. If I did then I may spend the next 15 years of my life on one knee.
It occurred to me that if I do not listen and hear my children now, then they will stop talking to me later. The communication needs to stay open. I mean WIDE open! There are so many critical topics we have not yet discussed. It would be a tragedy to miss these important conversations with my babies.
It is a full time job listening to everything that follows the word “Mom.” It is a job that I signed up for and take very seriously. And seriously people, where do we hide the feathers?
Lesson #3 – listen to your children when they speak.
Lovely artwork by, I am Awakened