Friday, July 1, 2011

Practice Persistent Listening

Last night as I was finally heading to bed, my sweet little four-legged friend, Gladys, had another idea. Apparently she had no idea how tired I was!  As I began to turn off lights she followed my every move staring up at me until I stopped to figure out what she needed.  Going through the list of usual needs in my head, I worked through each one until I figured out what she needed.  I knew I wasn't going to get any sleep until I figured it out.  She was so persistent in communicating to me that she needed something, that I began to think about how this relates to our children.  When they are babies and don't have the ability to "tell" us with words what they need, we are so persistent in trying to figure it out.  There's no stopping a mom until she figures out what will make that little one happy again!  But I started to wonder at what point we stop being so persistent in trying to understand what our children are really saying to us?  Kids have a lot to say and they are pretty persistent with us in trying to get their point across.  Sometimes they use words, sometimes they use behaviors, sometimes their mood, sometimes by their lack of communication ~ but always the communication intent is there.  A statistic I love is that over 70% of behaviors we see in children are rooted in communication.  They're talking, but are we listening to understand?  To encourage our kids, no matter what age or ability, to keep communicating with us, we have to maintain that persistence that we had with them as babies.  We must be persistent in trying to understand what they are saying to us.  Try today to REALLY listen and understand what your child is saying to you ~ whether it's with words or actions. Gladys taught me a great lesson last night about that.  I hope you can learn from it too!

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