I heard our conversation and I certainly did not like it. I did not like it because of me. My dialogue, my lines were too long, repetitive. I wanted to make a point clear, but as I listened carefully to those words coming out from my mouth, I though more about a continual dripping of rain, than a healing balm.
My words certainly did not taste as honey.
"When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent."
Here I was, a Mom of many words...
But I want to do do something about my conversation with my young adult children; I want it to be fruitful, blessed, sweet, and profitable.
"Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent."
Proverbs 17: 27-28
I read this and many others passages in the Scriptures, and I realized that the only way to improve my conversations with my children (and everyone else!) is to say fewer words, and listen more.
Before saying my twenty five thousand words about a topic, it would be better for me to learn to restrain my words and listen first to what they have to say, listen to them attentively and then speak wise words to their hearts. This, I am sure, is more efficient.
The hardest thing, however, is to break patterns that we have been dragging behind us; it is easier not to listen to our children, and just say what we think they ought to do; but this attitude will only bring grief, and will not nourish the relationship I am longing to have with them.
I wrote these questions to help me examine my conversation with my children:
1. When I am busy doing something, and one of my children wants to tell me something, do I stop immediately what I am doing to listen him?
-Yes, I have also said that what I am doing is very important...but to be true, those "super important" things could have waited ten minutes or so?
2.When one of my children is talking to me, am I listening attentively or my mind is somewhere else?
-I have been guilty of this one, especially with the little ones.
3. When I need to correct them, do I listen to what they have to say first?
-Letting them talk and explain to us their "side of the story" is not wrong; if we have instructed them in ways of the Lord, by now, they should know how to express themselves respectfully with us.
4.When I give them a chance to talk and explain, am I listening with a humble attitude, or I am just waiting until they finish to say what I have to say? Am I willing to say, "I am sorry, you are right, and I am not"?
-This is crucial, if they do not see in me a humble attitude, they will not choose to come to me. No one wants to engage in conversations with the prideful.
5. Do I enjoy listening to them?
-My children will have to give the answer to this one.
Today I am here, learning to converse.
What are some ways you have learned in your journey about conversing with your children?
The pictures were taken by Annie, and I chose them to remind me that I need to start applying all these principles with my little one!