“Be quiet and listen!”
That’s been my mantra lately, especially when dealing with my teenage sons.
When I keep my mouth shut, and actively listen . . . my boys get chatty!!
Sam shares his ideas for a video game he wants to create, his frustrations about favoritism during the Districts Music Festival, his opinion about abortion and what he thinks he wants to do with his life.
Jacob is honest about the stress of high school, his thoughts and fears about applying to college, how easy it is to “score weed” at his school and how he feels about his girlfriend.
They are sharing BIG Stuff with me and it’s awesome!
But the minute I go into the “I am an awesome problem solver/I know what is best for you/I have more life experience so you should listen to me” mom mode . . . they completely shut down.
What they hear is, “I don’t think you can handle this without me.” “I don’t trust you to figure this out on your own.” “This needs to be fixed.”
It’s hard work to stay quiet . . . I have such good advice and I love to talk! LOL
But honestly, most of the time my boys don’t want my advice or for me to fix anything . . . they just want to be heard!
They want to know someone is there who is present and listening.
My boys need to hear me say,
“I am sorry this is happening to you.”
“It’s ok to feel frustrated or sad or angry.”
“I’m here for you.”
“I love you.”
The best thing I can do for my boys is to stop what I am doing (even though the pile of unfolded laundry is driving me crazy).
Look them in the eyes (they may shy away from direct eye contact, and that’s ok).
Keep my mouth shut (damn, that’s tough).
And Listen (the quieter I become, the more I can hear).
I truly believe that this world CAN heal if we all learn how to be better LISTENERS!!
“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”
So give it a try!
Practice being quiet and listening.
It’s ok if you suck (been there), you WILL get better at it . . . with lots of discipline and patience.
Practice on your kiddos (When you really listen to them, you will hear what amazing human beings they are).
Practice on your partner (You will remember how much you love them and may even want to make out).
Practice on yourself (When you quiet your own chatter and listen to your body, she will start “talking” and believe me . . . she’s got a lot of important things to tell you).
Sometimes the most nourishing thing you can do for yourself and for someone else is to . . .
Be a good listener.