Are You Even Listening to Me?

I ask my kids if they are listening to me.
“Yeah, I’m listening”
And they occasionally get the brilliant parent/coach comeback, “OK, repeat back to me what I just told you.” The results aren’t usually good.
Maybe an equally important question for parents is, “Am I even listening to you?” How would I fare if they turned the tables on me? Not too good. “Dad, are you even listening to me? OK, what did I just say?”
Honestly……..”OK son, I missed what you said because I was looking right over the top of your head to see if the Bengals were gonna blow another game. I quit listening because you’re not as important to me as this UK basketball game I’m trying to watch. I tuned you out because it is soooo important that I gather useless facts on Facebook and Twitter or write some thoughts in a blog (no, of course that’s not something I could do in the three hours I’m awake after you go to bed).”
Thankfully it’s not that bad. I learned a powerful lesson from my wife years ago when my oldest daughter (17 now) was a toddler. I was doing something totally right, totally by accident of course, and she caught me in the act. “Karrick, when Macy talks, you just look at her and hang on every word like it’s the most important thing in the world.” Well, uh…..it is. But I didn’t actually realize it until she spoke those words: 1) that I was even doing it or 2) the importance of showing our kids (and anyone else in our lives for that matter) that we value them simply by listening to their words.
Thanks to her lesson that day I have managed to get these situations right at least half the time instead of 10% of the time.
In a time where everybody has some sort of “device” in their hand or in their line of vision, it becomes more important than ever to remind ourselves that the most important interactions that we have throughout each day MUST come with the people who we share a room with…..especially when it’s our own children.
Listen to them now in their early years. They will continue to talk to you and listen to you in later years.
Treasure each spoken word. And be prepared to repeat them back when asked.

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