In my books one of the most important but also sometimes most difficult things to do. Listen. Really listen. Don’t just only listen to the words but also to what’s been said between the lines and in the way, the tone, it’s been said.
Sometimes you just don’t manage to open yourself up to really get what’s been said. And sometimes it’s really hard to listen to your kids when they tell you one story after the other. You zone out. And yet, it’s important not to as you might miss the one important message. The one message they wanted you to hear.
I catch myself often to only listen to the stories my children tell me half-heartedly. I catch myself in the moment I do it and it makes me feel bad. I wonder if they were just telling me story after story and I didn’t miss anything important or if they were about to reach out and tell me something that really matters to them and although it probably seemed like I’ve been paying attention nothing stuck to me.
When I realize that I was zoning out I usually apologize to the kids and ask them if they could tell me again. So far I’ve been lucky enough to not hear the “oh never mind” yet and if there was something bothering them they would tell me again. And still it makes me feel bad. I want to listen to them. I want them to know what they say is important and that we listen.
It’s important to me as I know how bad it feels like when the one person you want to talk to, you need to talk to, just walks away and doesn’t listen to you. I know how bad it feels when you think your thoughts don’t count, that they are not important. I know how bad it feels if you think that your voice doesn’t matter, when the one person you want to talk to doesn’t listen.
I don’t want my kids to have that feeling. I want them to go out there, step into this world with the confidence that what they have to say matters and that people listen. Not everyone will listen and their words will not matter to everyone but I want them to know that it matters to me, to us.
While writing this post I thought I might make a little list of the 10 things that seem most important for me to teach my children and this is what I came up with:
- Respect and honesty
- Do what you love to do
- Be who you are
- Give your very best and be proud of it even if it did not lead to where you wanted to go
- What you have to say matters
- You have a voice and it counts
- It’s okay to show emotions
There’s so much more I could add on. But I guess these points cover the basics. What would you put on your list of the 10 most important things to teach your children?