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It’s been several years since I first told this story, but it feels like it was yesterday.   The ‘life lessons’ will do that to you – stick with you… 

Our then 6-year-old came into the kitchen, carrying his new “invention.” He had made it out of a box, with his big brother.  They did this on an almost-daily basis and I loved to see what they came up with (and they loved to show me).

When he walked into the kitchen, where I was sitting working on my computer, I was pretty focused on what I was doing.   I heard him come in but hadn’t looked up.   I just wanted to complete my task-at-hand… my work.

I heard him say, “Mom, look at this!”

mom, look at me in my eyes

 I glanced up for a quick second, saw his invention (It was pretty amazing, I might add!  They had turned a box into an “army tank” complete with cannons and shields).
He didn’t know that I was amazed though… my reaction didn’t say it.  

I said:  “Oh, cool!”  I went back to focusing on work.

I didn’t see his face at that moment, but I can imagine.  

You know how you feel when you are so excited to tell someone something and they answer in a less-than-excited way?

Do you know how it just makes you feel sad?

Like “Why didn’t they react the way that I expected?”

I imagine that is the way that he felt right then.

It was then that he said “Mom? You didn’t really look.”  Then, a pause…  and then the words that hit my heart:  “Mom, look at my eyes.”
My heart melted.  Look at my eyes.   He knew that I wasn’t really paying attention.  He had wanted me to stop what I was doing and to pay attention to him.
He would have felt that joy that he feels when I give him my undivided attention:

A woman and a little boy standing in a grassy field with a barn behind them.
I want to tell you a story that I always keep in the back of my mind…

I watched an episode on Oprah once, where Maya Angelou told Oprah that one time her son brought her a picture that he had made and when he showed it to her, she didn’t give him her full attention and just said something like “it’s nice”.

He then took the picture, ripped it up, and threw it away.  When she asked him why he said that it was because she didn’t like it.

She vowed then & there to pay attention to everything that he showed her.  He truly valued her opinion, as I know that our children are valuing ours.  I always felt like I had my Mom’s full attention, and I still do.

I know that if I am talking to her, she is listening.

What a wonderful feeling to know that someone cares about you enough to really LISTEN.



My grandma was so good about this and always told me to make sure that I did the same with my kids, reminding me to “enjoy them every day”.

When I would call her or go to talk to her, she would stop everything that she was doing to listen to me.   She would put her book down, put down her pencil, stop what she was doing… look at you and just listen.

Even when I was cleaning up after dinner, I can remember her saying “Let’s take a walk.  We can clean when we get back home.  It can wait.”   It was hard to leave a messy table just to take a walk, but now that she is gone, I realize how valuable those moments were.

I don’t want to lose those moments with my children.  

A person holding a baby on a porch swing.


RELATED ARTICLE: Spend your money on vacations, not toys. 

I want my kids to feel this way when they remember their childhood.  The feeling that “my mom stopped everything to talk to me, to look at me, to listen to me.”

I want them to feel important.   The same way that I felt when my mom listened to me: 
.lessons from mom
I want to teach them that they mattered more than anything else in the world- more than work more than the house, more than my friends, more than whatever was on my to-do list.  They are the most important.

I want to use these years, while they are young, to do chores WITH them (to teach them).  I want to show them what I am working on, (to help them be hard-workers in the future).  I want to let them help me with my to-do list, (so they can see how good it feels to finish something.)


I want to use these years to show our kids “You are important to me.  I will stop my less-important things to listen to you… because:

I know that these years are important and we need to show our children how much they mean to us.   If you’d like me to e-mail you the poem below, click here.  I’ll send you this poem & weekly encouragement via e-mail.
.listen to your kids

PS- Join my free one-on-one time challenge: 
A calendar with a text on top of it.


stop yelling & the kids will start to LISTEN

sons to be men

stop watching, start playing

A family running on the beach while flying a kite.

Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Ahh this post hits such an emotional cord! How true in life today especially that this happens, even to the best of Moms I am certain. We are so busy trying to keep up with everything that sometimes we may brush off that moment that is needed for our kids.

    I really enjoyed you writing about your experience with your Grandma, I try to tell myself those rules too, cleaning can wait-let’s go out and enjoy the rest of day light!

    Such a great story you shared that should make us all take a moment and appreciate those moments in our day!

  2. I came across this and it really hits home. Just yesterday I was folding laundry on the dining table and my two kids were building forts in the family room. My son kept wanting me to watch him do different things (jump on top of the fort, go through his tunnel, etc.) and he kept saying things like, “Mom, watch the whole thing until I get to the end,” or “Mom, watch me the whole time!” I would watch him the whole time but admittedly, I was a bit annoyed. I wanted to get the laundry folded! But as I read your article I thought that even when he asks me to watch him do something, I must not watch him finish what he’s doing or really give him my full attention. This is a great reminder to be a little better and try and little harder to be a better Mom. Thank you.