Tuesday, January 26, 2010

When Life Doesn't Work: Listen More

Like background music, the needs of your children play around you -- on good days and bad days, in moments of excitement and moments of quiet. There are so many needs. Some of them urgent, some of them whimsy, some of them important. It's easy to become deaf over time to what matters, simply because of the constant noise.

This is why, when things aren't going well, you may need to stop for a minute and think about what you haven't heard.

Is there something you may not have heard from your children that would help you understand why this isn't working? Or is there a reason why they aren't hearing you?

When we were all miserable, when the lesson wasn't progressing, when nothing seemed to be working, this was often the answer. Most of the time, I just needed to listen more: somebody needed to be heard or needed to feel heard. Misunderstanding was nearly always at the bottom of the trouble.

It takes time to do this kind of listening. You have to stop what you are doing and ask questions. After you listen to the answers, you probably should ask some more questions and listen again.

It's helpful to repeat back what you think you've heard. To reflect the idea back to the person who just spoke and wait for confirmation. This makes the speaker feel heard. It also helps you be sure you understand what was meant.

I can't tell you how many times this has made all the difference for us. I almost never listen as much as I could.

How about you? When was the last time you listened quietly to your children and just asked questions? How did it help?


  1. oooh I needed this one. Thankyou.

  2. Such a great post...we should extend that same "listening ear" that our Heavenly Father extends to us. Our children are such a blessing and if we're not careful...we may miss something that God is trying to say to us...through our children!
    God bless,

  3. Excellent point Cassandra, thank you!


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