Last evening, my wife and I had the opportunity to spend some time with our high school youth group for BYOB! No, no…not what you are thinking. B-ring Y-our O-wn B-eef. The kids brought the meat and I grilled it. There’s just something about a guy and his grill that means all is right in the world. We can’t help it. It’s in our DNA. Right guys?
Oh, well…moving on. My wife was the youth minister for a few years, so it was like old school and a real treat for us to spend some time with them. It’s my daughter’s last year and that made it even more special. During the meal, our youth minister engaged them in various discussions regarding their relationship with God, challenges, triumphs and ways that He is working in their lives. Throughout the discussion, I noticed one word that kept coming out.
The word was used in thanksgiving, “I’m blessed to have friends that listen to me.” The word was used in frustration, “I wish my parents would just listen. I don’t want anything. I just want them to listen.”
A little bit of the dialog that followed went like this:
YM: “What makes you think they don’t listen to you?”
Youth #1: “They won’t stop talking long enough to hear what I have to say.”
Youth #2: “Or they just pretend they don’t hear you.”
Youth #1: “Yeah, or that they don’t have time and we’ll discuss it later…”
You get the idea. The youth minister stressed to them that there is One that will always have time for you, One that will always listen and One that will never turn you away…Jesus Christ. If you’ve been around this blog at all, you know how precious children are to me. It’s so vital that we as parents listen to what our kids have to say. You may think they are completely out their minds, but listen to them. Carry on a dialog. Ask questions. Try to understand their point of view. They need to know what they have to say matters. You may not always agree, but at least they know they can come to you, their parent, for discussion and consideration. If not, they’ll go somewhere else. I’ve seen it happen too many times.
I don’t mean to oversimplify. I know there are situations and circumstances that are way outside the scope of what I’m presenting here.
I’m so blessed to have a great relationship with my kids and I thank God for that. It takes a lot of work and a lot of prayer for it to work. Pray for your kids and pray with your kids. Listen.