When prayer is a natural part of your day-to-day routine, your kids learn the value of going to God with little things as well as the big things.
"Lord, thank You that I can do all things (even my math homework) because You give me strength."
A mom was preparing dinner when her little boy, Matt, asked, "Are you listening, Mommy?"
"Sure," his mom said as she turned off the mixer and started setting the table.
Matt stopped her. He put his hands on her cheeks and said, "But Mommy, would you listen with your face?"
Many of us are like that mother. When I realized how deficient I was in this area, I made listening one of my goals. I haven't arrived, but I have discovered some ways to improve:
Make eye contact and pay attention to your child's words, feelings and body language.
Start small. Instead of aiming to listen to your child or husband for an hour, start with a goal of five minutes a day.
Be available to talk at odd times, day and night.
Be willing to talk about sensitive subjects without overreacting. When you overreact to what your kids share, they tend to clam up and not tell you anything significant.
Ask open-ended questions. They encourage thought and communication, and they don't have a right or wrong answer.
Practice active listening. Active listening doesn't judge everything that comes out of your child's mouth. Instead of saying, "I don't know why you feel so angry," say, "It sounds like you're mad and hurt. I understand that." Let your child know he's heard before you offer a solution.
Silently pray for your child while she's talking about a problematic situation or conflict. Ask God to give you wisdom and show you how to respond.
Have you ever responded with "later" to one of your kid's discoveries? Has your sense of wonder faded between the pages of your planner or been replaced by practicality and busyness? Here are some ways to stir up your wonder: