Simple Ways to Really Listen

The following post is from Amanda of OhAmanda.com and Impress Your Kids:

Really Listening to Your Kids
source: d sharon pruitt

There is nothing that aggravates me more than my husband or my kids ignoring someone who speaks to them (mainly, me). I know they are just engrossed in whatever they are doing. I know they aren’t being rude on purpose. But I can’t help it. It bothers me.

The other day, after being exceptionally aggravated about it, I got a big check inside of me when I realized–*gulp* I do the same thing! How many times have I sat at the computer and let my kids say, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!” twenty-five times?! How many times have I kept reading emails on my phone while my husband tells me about his day? Yikes!

The last few days I’ve been making an effort to listen to my family. Really listen.

Here’s three simple things I’m focusing on…

1. Look.

When my son tells me a made up story about his stuffed animals, explains something funny he just thought of or asks me a question, I turn my face to his and  look right into his eyes. I might not physically step away from what I’m doing, but just looking at him shows respect and preference.

It also makes me appreciate him more–watching his little four year old face come up with words and explain the world in his voice is a treat. I actually enjoy the opportunity to stop and notice him.

2. Touch.

Sometimes just looking isn’t enough. Sometimes I have to reach out and touch my kids. It’s more for me than them. I need that physical contact to keep my thoughts focused on their words.

3. Invite conversation.

I remember watching Oprah in her last season and a male viewer told a story of how he learned to make his eyes light up when his kids or wife walked into the room. It’s always stuck with me because it’s such a beautiful gift!

Can you imagine if every time you walked into the room your husband turned to you and his face was altered with joy? Wouldn’t it make you want to sit near him, talk to him, listen to him?

Taking the first step, either by making your eyes light up or asking questions can invite a conversation and memory that will bind you together!

I’m not a pro at this listening stuff yet. And I still find it hard to listen to the eleventy billion questions of a four year old, along with the stories of a first-grader and the details of my husband’s job without my mind wandering, but I’m finding these little postures help. I want my family to know they matter more than a recipe, more than my computer and more than my own agenda. I want to listen to and understand the people God has placed in my life.

Who’s the best listener you know? How do they do it?

Amanda is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at OhAmanda.com and Impress Your Kids. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!
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