Listen to your kids slowly

Posted on Nov 3, 2011 in Featured, Parenting

Listen slowly to your kids

Author Charles Swindoll once found himself with too many commitments in too few days. He got nervous and tense about it. In this book, Stress Fractures: Advice and Encouragement for Handling your Fast-Paced Life, he writes:

I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated at those unexpected interruptions through the day. Before long, things around our home started reflecting the pattern of my hurry-up style. It was become unbearable.

I distinctly remember after supper one evening, the words of our younger daughter, Colleen. She wanted to tell me something important that had happened to her at school that day. She began hurriedly, “Daddy, I wanna tell you somethin’ and I’ll tell you really fast.”

Suddenly realizing her frustration, I answered, “Honey, you can tell me — and you don’t have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly.”

I’ll never forget her answer: “Then listen slowly.”

Even while writing this, my two-year-old daughter came into the room to see what I was doing. Since I feel a bit of a time crunch to finish this before heading out to church this evening, my first reaction was to give her a little kiss on the forehead and keep typing. But when she wanted to climb into my lap, I had to put the computer down and hold her.

And I’m glad I did because these moments will be fewer and far between as she grows up. I need to listen to both her and my son slowly while I still can, not to mention my wife!

Ironically, because I took the time with my daughter, I have a much shorter ending for this post than I originally planned. It’s now finished with plenty of time to grab dinner and head out to youth group. I’m glad I listened to my little girl, even though she didn’t really say a thing.

QUESTION: What are some signs you recognize when your kids need you to listen slowly?

About the author,

Tim is a dad who is imperfectly pursuing his wife and children while ultimately trying to pursue the Lord's vision for his family. He's written a few books and dabbles in online video, mostly to support his primary ministry at home.

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