When You Listen to a Child

when you listen to a child #handsfreemama

My younger daughter and I were the first ones to arrive home from an evening swim meet. Although I knew my husband would be arriving shortly with my mom and older daughter, my heart was heavy that I had to come home first.

I had an overwhelming feeling of dread about what I might find.

My dad, who was visiting from Florida, had fallen ill that afternoon and was not able to go to the meet. Although he’d promised not to descend the stairs while we were gone, I couldn’t help but worry about my 74-year-old diabetic father during the swim meet.

That feeling of angst I’d endured for hours was now going into overdrive as my daughter and I ascended the stairs. We expected to find my dad sleeping soundly, but his bed was empty.

My perceptive child knew what she saw was not good. “Uh-oh. Where’s Paw Paw?” she asked with wide eyes and concern in her voice.

I swallowed hard.

“Oh, I am sure he is around her somewhere,” I said forcing myself to sound light-hearted even though the feeling of panic in my chest was now nearly suffocating. “Why don’t you go to your bedroom and put on your pajamas while I look for Paw Paw?” I suggested, not knowing what condition we might find my dad in.

After putting up a brief protest about wanting to help look for her grandpa, my child obliged. As soon as she reached her bedroom, I bolted down the stairs.

I immediately noticed the front door was unlocked—which was not how we left it.

My mind immediately imagined my dad wandering the neighborhood in a disoriented state or lying face down in the grass.

I quickly scanned the street and yard but saw no sign of him. Now more worried than ever, I fought the urge to scream my dad’s name like a maniac. Instead I returned to the house and searched every room.

When I’d run out of places to look, my eyes began to water. But I knew this was no time to cry or fall apart. I willed myself to stay calm, and that’s when it hit me. My dad’s favorite place to sit was the back porch. Even on the hottest afternoons in the south, my dad would sit there contentedly gazing at the trees and catching a catnap.

I raced to the backdoor and immediately felt fear’s intense grip release from my racing heart.

There sat my dad, hands folded and head bowed in peaceful slumber.

My hand hastily reached for the doorknob, but I didn’t turn it. I just stood there for a moment reciting a prayer of gratitude—thankful for one more day with my dad.

As tears of relief spilled from my eyes, words written by my dad came back in full force. I’d received an email message from him a few months into my Hands Free journey. While telling me he was proud of my decision to transform my distracted ways and be more present in my children’s lives, he had his own difficult truths to share.

“I am sorry I was distracted while raising you and your sister. I wasn’t as Hands Free as I could have been. I am deeply sorry for that. I hope you always knew how much I love you,” he wrote.

My dad didn’t go into detail about what he was sorry for—he didn’t need to. I knew. I remember.

But I remember something more.

I remember walking across campus to my dad’s office everyday after school for over a decade. And upon my arrival, I would find my dad sitting at his desk amid piles of papers and books.

Although the empty chair sitting beside him was probably for a colleague in need of curriculum guidance or a college student seeking scheduling assistance, I always believed that empty chair was for me.

Dad would look up from whatever he was doing and greet me with a smile. Then, as if on cue, he’d place the cap on the black felt tip pen he always used to grade papers or draft notes. The pen cap gesture was my signal. It meant my dad wanted to hear about my day. Sometimes I told him a few things, other times I went on and on about something exciting or dramatic that happened at school.

This was the routine. From first grade through my senior year in high school, I had after school chats with my dad. I can’t remember a time when he said he couldn’t talk right now—even when he was working on his dissertation, dealing with difficult faculty issues, or facing budget cuts. When I spoke, my dad was there. All there.

My dad wasn’t perfect. He lost his temper sometimes. He worked too much. He experienced periods of depression. But even through the rough patches, my dad always listened to me.

My dad was never too busy, too distracted, or too desolate to listen to what I had to say.

Even in the rough patches.

And despite what the critics say—that giving a child our undivided attention creates a child who thinks the world revolves around him or her—I believe otherwise.

Having a parent that listens creates a child who believes he or she has a voice that matters in this world.

And when you believe your voice matters, you have the strength to say, “Let me out of the car,” when you feel like you are in a dangerous situation.

When you believe your voice matters, you have the courage to say no to harmful substances that can affect your ability to make decisions and prematurely end your life.

When you believe your voice matters, you have the bravery to admit you made a mistake and will use that experience to learn, grow, and do better next time.

When you believe your voice matters, you have the confidence to write down your most difficult truths and publish them in a book so someone else doesn’t feel alone in his or her struggles.

In these moments I could have suffered in silence, but instead I spoke up. Why? Because my dad listened to me as I grew.

And what this means is there is hope, great hope, for anyone struggling today.

My friends, perfection is not expected on this parenting journey.

You will have days when you are dealing with heavy, soul-crushing issues.

You will have days when nothing you do seems to be good enough.

You will have days when smiles don’t come easily and harsh words are spoken too quickly.

You will have days when you can only do the basics and nothing more.

On those days, I urge you not to say things like, “I am a failure,“ or “I am a bad parent.”

Instead, I urge you to garner the strength, the patience, the resolve to do one thing … just one thing.

Listen.

Listen when she wants to tell you the (many) reasons she chose the pink shoes instead of the red ones.

Listen when he tells you (in agonizing detail) how he built his giant Lego skyscraper.

Listen when she tells you how that pesky ant made that (barely visible) mark on her arm.

Listen when he confesses he is struggling in Mr. Johnson’s pre-algebra class.

Listen when she reveals her fear of being bullied on the bus.

Listen when he admits you are his only hope.

Listen with your eyes, ears, and heart. They know. They know when you are listening. And it matters; it really matters.

Because someday our children will find themselves in a difficult situation and they’ll have a choice—either to suffer in silence or speak up. And perhaps that is the moment they will remember your eyes, the nodding of your head, your thoughtful response. And suddenly they will be reminded that their voice holds value.

And when you believe your voice holds value … well, let’s just say, that belief can make a life changing difference.

 

my all-time favorite picture of my dad doing what he does best ... listening and loving

my all-time favorite picture of my dad doing what he does best … listening and loving

 

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I am blessed to have over a million visitors on my blog each month because what this brings is personal stories to my inbox that fuel my writing. Lately, I’ve heard from many teens who say this: “How can I ask my parents to listen to me without offending them? I know they are busy, but I just wish we could talk sometimes and they would listen.”

Through the powerful words of these brave young people, let us remember what truly matters at the end of the day—not how much we accomplished but how much we listened and loved the people who matter most in this precious life.

Thank you for being a part of  The Hands Free Revolution.  I welcome your valuable insights and experiences in the comment section.

*A special thanks to my dad for giving me permission to share his story today and, of course, for always listening.

Additional Resources:

I love the site “Ten Powerful Ways to Talk to Your Children” and found these two short posts to be incredibly valuable resources for listening and talking to children:

Ten Questions to Ask About Your Relationship

When Your Child Asks You a Question

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Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Beautifully written as always Rachel, love your posts and always look forward to reading them. I’m so glad to hear your dad was okay!

    I totally agree about the importance of listening to your kids – sometimes it’s hard, especially if they are like mine who talk from the minute they get up to the minute their little heads hit the pillow at night :-). It’s worth it though to see the happiness beaming out of them and the confidence grow in them when they see you are truly interested in what they have to say.

  2. 3

    Judy Clark says

    This is touching and powerful. You just helped me to understand why both my parents were so successful raising my sister and me and where our strengths lie. Thank you for spreading the word.

  3. 5

    Jennifer says

    I love this picture of your dad…so sweet. Thank you again for the reminders to listen to our kids. This is what I see the need to work on most. Reading your blogs is a gentle and encouraging reminder to keep working at it and not get down on myself when I fail!

  4. 7

    says

    I think this is one of the most touching and beautiful things I have read. What a wonderful and deeper insight on the importance of listening to your chi,children you have given here. It has made me understand myself as well. It means soo much to me. Thank you!

  5. 9

    says

    Love this reminder, Rachel. My 5 year old son and I set aside time at the end of the day to simply sit on the top step of the stairs, be close to one another, and just talk about the day. I cherish this time and this is a great reminder to make it a priority for both of us. Thank you.

  6. 11

    Kim says

    What a beautiful story! I love the sweet picture of your Daddy and daughter. Thank you again, for helping me to open my eyes and heart a little wider! You make a difference! :)

  7. 15

    Mimi says

    My oldest had decided to move across country, and I asked him to lunch for some one-on-one time. We talked and laughed and shared, and at the end of lunch I told him I loved him. He said he knew I did. So I asked him what particularly I might have done to let him know, and he said, simply, “you listened to me mom.” So I couldn’t agree more with “hands on”.

  8. 17

    Laurel says

    Thank you so much for this post, Rachel. As a child, I was not listened to by my parents, and now at 41 years of age, I am still trying to find my voice, because I grew up thinking that only what mom & dad said and thought was what mattered. I have not used that as an example of how I want to parent, but as a horrible warning… Years of stifling my voice and my own true feelings and thoughts led to marriage struggles, years of therapy, and even being more timid in the work place. I am determined NOT to do that to my children. I stop, turn to them, and look them in the eyes when they talk to me – no matter what it is about. Thank you for this reminder!

    • 18

      Jeaneen says

      I grew up in an age “children are to be seen and not heard”. I still have a huge problem finding my voice. Somehow in raising 5 beautiful children, not one of them even hesitate to voice their opinions or concerns. They are all very well spoken and have great boundaries. Something God must have done in spite of me or their father. I am thankful He doesn’t leave it all on us, He never leaves or forsakes us or our children.

    • 20

      says

      Thank you for sharing your story, Laurel. I am truly sorry for the challenges you have endured in your life. I can feel the determination in your words that you will provide your children with the regard they need to flourish and become confident with their voice. I have heard from many readers who said that despite their upbringing, they are doing things differently. That is truly inspiring to me.

  9. 22

    says

    Beautiful, as always, Rachel. You’re so lucky you had a listening dad and I’m going to guess his attention to your voice is part of what has made you such a beautiful writer. I often find it hard to find my voice because, while I learned many important things from my mother, listening wasn’t easy for her. And, my father was absent. But, because of the lack of listening in my childhood, I was acutely aware of the need to listen to my children. And, I think it’s allowed them to speak, and feel, clearly.

    • 23

      says

      Thank you so much, Helen. I love that you are aware of what you were lacking and are determined to provide your children what you didn’t receive. Thank you for the support you give me each week.

  10. 24

    Gloria Wahl says

    Thank you very much for all your lovely information. Saddly my parents ignore me all the time, but I’m trying to change that with my 5 years old!!! I want that he grows up in a happy and healthy enviroment.

  11. 26

    Daniela says

    Beautiful post … it had me crying. I have a 21 months old son and am due to give birth to our second child in about 5 weeks. I think listening/being present and being compassionate have been my number one goals as a parent and I try really really hard every day. It’s not always easy … I never let him “cry it out” when he was a baby, because I wanted him to feel heard, but I am already afraid of the next baby coming into this world because my son’s first year was the hardest year of my life … just because I feel I have set such high standards for myself as a parent. Looking at him today though and knowing how much he trusts me and depends on me … it’s all worth it and I do want to keep it up. May God give me the strength to keep it up for the rest of their lives.

    • 27

      says

      Many blessings to you, Daniela, as you bring your 2nd child into the world. It sounds like you are very wise and listen to your instincts. May you find a way to ease up on the high standards and just know that when you take care of the most important things like you mentioned (love and attention), the rest will fall into place. Much love to you.

  12. 28

    Tracy says

    Another wonderful piece! But I must stop reading your words in public! My eyes are welled up with tears. Thanks for the reminders.

  13. 30

    Tina says

    Thank you so much for sharing! My girls are constantly chatting to me and I have to admit at times I tune them out when I should be listening more intently. Thank you for the great reminder!

  14. 31

    says

    Thanks for putting words to this correlation. I am discovering, at the age of 23, that I do not believe I have a voice. Fear poisons my thought patterns and leads me to ‘suffer in silence’ everywhere from the doctor’s office to running wedding plans by my dad (gettin’ hitched next month–woop woop!). And this beautiful facet of your relationship with your father is something God (in his loving wisdom) has asked me to do without. Your thoughts here help me understand more fully the formative repercussions of early family life; they give me courage to pursue healing and new confidence; and inspire me to give children–and hopefully someday my own–every opportunity I can to exercise their voices.

  15. 32

    Melissa says

    A much needed read for me as a parent. I had such loving parents and always felt like I was heard, no matter what! I am the youngest of 10 children and each and every one of us had a voice in our busy house. We ate together, prayed together and listened to one another. I only hope to be the parent that my mother and father were to me. Unconditional love is a big job, the best job God has given me to accomplish~ I have three very different children, all unique and special. I love hearing their stories, listening to their concerns and at times offering some advice. I love your article and would love to continue to read more of your work. Today I read this and knew that God sent me this message.

  16. 33

    Nichole says

    Oh my…once again, tears are welling up in my eyes. I agree with the poster above, reading your posts in public can be uncomfortable since I’m usually crying!

    My parents are both gone, but I can relate to that feeling of panic you write of when not knowing where your dad was. Oh, how our thoughts wreak havoc on our “sensible” minds. At least mine does! When I don’t know the full story of something, I automatically go to the worst place. So glad, he was resting peacefully, and I love how you brought this around to being a “listening” parent. I believe listening is an amazing gift that you can give to anyone…not only our children, but all who we love and those we come into contact with daily. That’s one of the things people tell me often, I’m a good listener. I appreciate this post and all of your writings!

  17. 35

    Kimberly says

    I am an adult who is blessed with parents who always are there to “listen.” My parents have been my sounding board and truly my soft place to fall. No matter what else happens in the world, I always have known they were “home.” Nothing is more important to a child. Thank you for the reminder for me to honor my parents by providing my children with the same. Great post.

  18. 36

    Melissa says

    Oh Dearest Rachel, I am so grateful for your words, kindness and love. Your writing makes me take deep breaths of release and you make me say to myself, ” I am ok, I am a good mom and it is ok to make mistakes.” I tell parents about your journey all the time and how you inspire me! Tears of relief roll down my cheeks when I read your words.
    Thank you for being you. Thank you to your family too! So much love, peace, support and kindness I send to you today and every time I think of this Hands Free Journey

  19. 38

    Danielle G. says

    As always another well written post – I love them and you always manage to touch my heart :) Thank you!

  20. 39

    celeste dryer says

    Thank you for this. I so agree that adults need to show that we are there for our kids every day. Not with words (“you can come to me if you need help”) but with action. This post really helps me see how powerful the act of listening is to everyone in our world, not just children. Once again I am reminded of the importance of buttoning my lip and listening. Thank you.

  21. 40

    Alexandra says

    Your story brought a tear (a few!) to my eye and the moral is so close to my heart – thank you!

  22. 41

    says

    Such a great message. I always like to remind that it is just important to really listen when they are teens. Even when they say things that make you uncomfortable, frustrated, worried…..start with really listening.

  23. 42

    says

    Awww. This made me cry. You have a good daddy. Mine was way too busy too, but he always listened and carved out time for me.

  24. 43

    maggie db says

    “Having a parent that listens creates a child who believes he or she has a voice that matters in this world.” and all that follows is what must taken away and incorporated into every moment of your life when dealing with not just children but the all people. Thank you, Rachel.
    Everyone, THAT is what is important in this piece to me. Date rape – less likely if you think your voice matters; drugs or alcohol decisions as a teen – easier if you think you are enough of a real person with enough self esteem that you can make your own good decision and not endlessly mindlessly follow whatever is around you. You’ll know you have the to do what you want and think long term. Wy? Because you learned over your life of being listened to that you that you are an individual whose uniqueness, opinions and wishes matter.
    Thank goodness I was older and had been through college and a nursing career before I had kids because I sure did not get any “listening” in the bizarre household of alcohol and abuse that I grew up in. Thank goodness for parenting magazines for guidance. Thank goodness for those boring psych classes and tedious communication skills practice in nursing.
    And thank goodness that Rachel can have such insight and share it. Her personal manner brings the point home so much more touching than those classes ever did.
    I’d also like to say that listening to the elderly and the ill makes all the difference in their comfort and sense of power over their own lives. They have fewer choices than we healthy. Doctors start talking to the family members rather than the actual person that is elderly or ill. The person/patient becomes subservient to the wishes of their family and their healthcare providers and start to not communicate much the way a female may not clearly communicate her displeasure with a male and end up date raped or blamed for a situation. Or do like I did and endure sexual harrassment with touching from bosses. It’s a new world, girls. I have more but this is long enough for one comment! This just touches on so many important issues in so many areas.
    Thank you, Rachel.

  25. 44

    Ab says

    What a wonderful memory of your father – that shared time together (and for such a long period of time).

    Thank you for sharing that with us.

  26. 46

    Sara says

    Wow! What a beautiful post and what a beautiful picture! Your father’s love is really evident in the picture. :) Thank you for sharing!

    My own particular problem with communication is that I always want so badly to help the person talking, so I try to find all kinds of advice that could help him/her… But I keep forgetting that simply listening can do so much good, and even sometimes the person finds the solution right then and there, just because he/she explained the problem to someone else! Thank you for reminding me of the power of listening, especially our children… It’s hard to apply to my one-year-old, but as you say, they know when we’re listening, and I’m sure that even at one, my daughter knows when I fully paying attention to her and when I’m not!

  27. 47

    says

    Tears, just tears. You may have given me the answer I am looking for. I am sharing with my husband. I may have to come back and thank you in years to come for this one fateful post.

  28. 48

    Jan Risolio says

    Now that I have wiped my tears I must say Thank You! I was not raised ‘hands free’ & I am sorry to say that my children were not either. However, the cycle can be broken. When any member of my family speaks to me now they know they have my complete attention. The result, my grandchildren come to me more often with the big & little crises they face. My children know that as the adults they are, they still appreciate and value the complete attention I am now able to provide. I knew what I did not want to be so I changed. I am now a 68-year old great-grandmother still learning how to live ‘hands free’. Bless you for all of your encouragement….and for your amazing courage in sharing your innermost challenges with us. There are many times you have been my oasis in this desert we call life!

  29. 49

    Jennifer says

    Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story and life lesson. I had a dad that listened and heard me. Without that amazing example I would not be the parent I am today.

  30. 50

    Bob Braxton says

    Number of children matters greatly. I am firstborn of eight. We have one (soon age 42). Two grandchildren – it is possible to listen to one – but Several just does not work (at the same time). With eight children, you could listen to one – each day – for over a week before the first gets to return to be heard the second time. The job of an EduCarer (Magda Gerber): wait, Observe, Enjoy.

  31. 52

    Glennis Boyd says

    Eyes leaking! my son came over and kissed my head! he is 10yrs…..he is So precious! Sometimes I get so busy and then I see a post like this at it reminds me to seize those precious moments! THANK YOU , sincere thanks from one who was one of six and didn’t always feel heard!!
    May we always be ready to listen and slow to speak!
    I LOVE your beautiful words of life!!!

  32. 53

    Juli says

    Your words have perfect timing. I’m having a less than stellar day when summer feels long and the list of un-fun errands feels longer. Your messages to my inbox always help get my parenting back on track. Thank you!

  33. 54

    says

    I love this post. I love love it. :) I also could wax for several paragraphs about how much I love your blog–but I will save you the trouble of reading all of that and just say, thank you.

    I, too, had a father who listened. It gave (and gives me a voice everyday.)

    Thank you again. :)

  34. 55

    says

    Your posts are always so inspiring, Rachel! I shall listen to my children with my ears, eyes and heart. I find this so difficult sometimes when I am busy with other things while they are talking. I hope I can succeed in listening to them whole-heartedly. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post! Love it beyond words!

  35. 56

    says

    I think the daily visits with your dad are such a beautiful “tradition” and what a wonderful way to grow up! To have that every day–knowing he would be there to talk to–just beautiful. I am glad you found your father safe when you actually found him. Also, I love the examples given for having a child who grows up feeling they have a voice to be heard and listened to! This is so very important for our girls. Speak up, be heard, stand strong! An important mantra for girls!!!

  36. 57

    Rosemary says

    If this habit/practice is begun when children are young, they will continue to use it and pass it on to the next generation. My 25 year old daughter came to me the other night asking for an ear. I invited her to join me on her dad’s and my bed. Two hours later we’d laughed and cried together…more mommy and me time was still being made.

  37. 58

    JoS says

    I really enjoy reading your blog, and this piece truly speaks to an issue with which I continuously struggle. Everyday I feel so torn between all the things that must get done and being a truly present mother. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of the latter, and for the encouragement.

  38. 59

    Liz says

    Rachel,

    I was deeply touched by your post so much it brought tears to my eyes. Going from a home that valued my voice to one in which it was not (I was adopted), it reassuring to hear that there are households that do practice listening to their children. Thanks again.

    Liz

  39. 60

    says

    My parents listened to me and I feel incredibly blessed. I have to admit that I don’t always truly listen to my son. It is almost impossible when you have a child who talks nonstop all day long! I tend to give him my full attention when it is something I feel is “important”, but sadly what is important to him is probably all those crazy long stories about his newest Lego creation!
    I wanted to thank you for your previous post about talking to children about technology and the dangers. We had a great conversation afterwards, and I feel more confident that he will know what to do in certain situations.

  40. 61

    Jan Elias says

    Look at all the people who love your posts; think of all who are using your insight to improve their lives and the lives of their children! You are changing the world! I love your writing style. Please continue.

  41. 62

    Angie says

    WOW did this hit me as soon as I read “let me out of the car”…I never ever thought about good listening affecting a child in that way. Thank you SO much for this (and every) article. I shared it on Facebook and will have my husband read it also. God Bless You!!

  42. 63

    GG says

    A hugely valuable piece, Rachel! So important to emphasize the power of listening and allowing children to develop their voices. They will grow up to be strong individuals who fight for what is right and just in this world. Thank you for sharing, as always!

  43. 64

    says

    Wonderful! Thank you for saying again how important listening is. Thank you also for the reminder that kids don’t need perfect parents! This is WONDERFUL news since there is no such thing as a perfect parent! Whew! :)

  44. 65

    says

    This is such a beautiful post. I just wanted to add, children who feel that they have a voice that matters in this world also have the courage to stand up for others who feel they are being silenced.

  45. 66

    olivia.gabamonte@facebook.com says

    Love, that’s all I can say about your writing. Going through so much in my life right now, and getting your emails in my inbox ways make me smile and then I read them and I usually cry, but good tears. Thank you so much for sharing with the world. It feels like your writing to me every time I read your work. Keep it up!

  46. 67

    Lloyd Neale says

    I continued to be blessed abundantly each time I read your powerful words that inspire me beyond measure. My heart is grateful for having a friend I’ve never met in my life. After reading your relationship with your father it reminded me how thankful I continue to be in having a caring Dad & Mother that always had time to listen to me. Like your Dad, the impressions a parent makes last forever and reap so many rewards. Your POWERFUL statement of “Having a parent that listens creates a child who believes he or she has a voice that matters in this world” can make an incredible difference in a life. I realize there are hundreds of teachers who read the words you write. I hope they will take these words and put them to practice every time a student in their class needs an ear to listen to what matters most in their life. A teacher, like a parent can give a child belief in anothers listening ear holds value.

  47. 68

    says

    I just wanted to know you are changing my life…one post at a time…Thank you…and may God always bless you, your beautiful family, and your incredible talent for writing and getting right into the souls of those of us who are blessed to read your words…

  48. 70

    Michelle says

    Beautifully said and I absolutely agree on every degree!! Our children deserve our undivided attention and it really does make a difference in their precious lives!! Thank you Rachel for sharing! Thank you to your Dad too!! ;-)

  49. 71

    Linda says

    Lovely. Enjoy this time with your dad, and remember to listen to him as well. This is the time to reminisce together and share those stories with your children. I lost my dad last year and I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for our final conversations, and how much I wish I could speak with him every day, and to share his warmth and love with my daughter.

  50. 72

    says

    Fantastic! Very touching and well written. I’ve only recently begun following you, but have already shared some of your posts and adopted much of your philosophy which is in-line with the approach I was trying to will into existence for the past few years. Thank you for helping me solidify it.

  51. 74

    Sarah says

    I, too, needed this this morning as more of a reminder of how patient and attentive and loving my father has always been. HE listened to me (ramble incessantly sometimes) from an early age and therefore, there was always and has always been a comfort level with him that I didn’t have with my mother. She didn’t listen and would often tell me to ‘hush’ or ‘be quiet’ or that she ‘didn’t have time’ to listen or for me to talk to her. I distinctly remember how hurt my feelings were that she wasn’t interested enough in what I had to say. Luckily, my father was the balance and I do feel I have a voice. However, even at my current age (46) if I feel someone isn’t listening to me, my feelings still get hurt. So, yes, there definitely is a carry over of listening or NOT listening as a parent. Thank you again.

  52. 75

    Jacci B says

    As a mom to 5 year old twins girls and a 9 month old son….your blog always makes me smile and strive to be a better parent each and every day!!! Many blessings to you and your family!!!

  53. 76

    says

    I’ve started reading your blog this year and I get so excited to see a new post show up. Today I had TWO new ones to read! Your words touch me; Thank you for sharing, and have a wonderful week with family!

  54. 77

    Ellen Cassidy says

    The picture of your daughter and dad brought tears…there is nothing like that grandparent bond. my kids have lost 2 grandparents within 4 months and it has been so sad. If there is one thing most grandparents know to do right, it is
    listen.. My oldest son, now 23, was a big talker as a youngster. I would get report cards praising his grades but that he “needs to control amount of talking”. There were times I had to tell him…”I need

    you to not talk now. Can you tell me later?” I thought this was at least better than pretending to listen. The hard part of all this is that when he entered his teen years the talk button went to mute and stayed there. He does open up now occasionally, but it is guarded in a way it never was in his youth. I think partially because he is trying to be independent and make choices he knows we might not agree with. So, yes, parents of little ones..they do drive you nuts when they go on ceaselessly…but the day does come too soon when you wish you could hear that prattle once again!

  55. 78

    Gina says

    Even when your kids get to be 22, 20 and 15! Even when all 3 of them are boys! Even when you really don’t care about what they are telling you, like how this gun is different than this other gun, how this part of the engine runs this other thing, how they learned a new play in football. Even when you have to help them change the oil in their pick up or motorcycle and could they use a hand. Just being there, just listening, just spending time together, THAT is what is important! Thanks so much for this! You hit the nail on the head!

  56. 81

    lizzie says

    A child never outgrows the need for a parent to listen, to really listen. Thanks for the gentle encouragement to listen, really listen to my adult children.

  57. 82

    says

    I am honestly amazed that every single one of your articles melts my heart and brings tears to my eyes. This gave me so much hope that maybe I can find one thing to do that will make up for all else that I do wrong.
    And, it was wonderful to hear how much you love your father. Thank you.

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