Today, he had this conversation with a friend and her 7 year old daughter:
E: "Miss Kittie, we have been recycling."
K: "Wow! We do that too at our house."
E: "Daddy finally brought home a bin for us, because I have been wanting to recycle for...years." (He says with a slight roll of his eyes)
K: "Yes, since you were three?"
E: "Since I was four..."
Kittie's daughter then says so straight-faced..."You are four."Eli just looks at her and nods his head.
Tonight, looking back on that converstaion, I started thinking on how much time I actually spend in their world. I really want my children to know that what they are thinking and the ideas they would like to see happening are valuable. I find that since mine are so strong that I am often trying to find a balance between being their guardrail and really engaging in conversation with them.
I have just started reading The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. Yesterday I was encouraged in my role as a wife and mother, because I was reading about how my role is God-ordained. My children are to know what it means to be emotionally stable, encouraged, physically sustained and spiritually healthy because of my example.
We have to know the heart of our children in order to build a sustaining relationship with each of them. If I do not take time to invest individually, by getting down at their level and inside their world, I will be lost in navigating my way around their hearts. When children feel safe and secure they are open and can reveal quite a bit about themselves through play, words and actions.
This makes me think of Charlotte's Web where the mother asks the doctor if she thinks it's acutally possible for animals to speak. The doctor replies by saying, well it is possible that an animal spoke to me today, but I was too busy to hear or notice.
So, how are we doing at really listening to our children? I have a friend who, because of her son's challenges in speaking, treasures each word he says. In my home, both of my children talk all day and I have to be honest that I don't know that I "treasure" each and every one of those precious words. But, I certainly should be treasuring them! The hold much insight to my children. Even when they are silly, they want me to think they are silly. When they feel upset or misunderstood, they want to know that I understand those feelings.
My children's words are a small window into who they are, how they are wired and how they view the world. The myriad of questions that come from them each day are their way of learning about the world. My job is to instill in them a godly worldview. I do this by being in God's word and then passing on that truth to my children. This is my purpose as a mother. Deuteronomy says I should teach the truth of the word of God diligently to my sons and shall talk of them. When? When I sit in my house, and when I walk by the way, and when I rise up and when I lie down.
Talk. Talk. Talk. Yes, I need to be talking, BUT I also need to be engaging my chilren in conversation with me. I need to remember to let them have a voice and to most importantly listen. If I want to know them better, I can learn quite a bit just by being still and quiet. Funny...isn't that how I also learn more about my amazing God? Yes, I do recall that He asks me to "be still and know." I shall set it as my goal this week to do just that with my sweet boys. Hopefully in the next week I will know something new about them!
I challenge you to find ways and make time to do the same with your children. Let us know what you discover by being still and quiet with your children. Reverse the roles some and see what you might learn from being inside their world! Have fun~