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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!”
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.
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.
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:
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.
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