Can you hear me now?

lalala-i-can-t-hear-you.jpg 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?

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.

“listen”

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.

Blessings,
David.

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10 thoughts on “Can you hear me now?

  1. Kurt

    I wish I had been involved in that discussion. My wife & I are currently struggling with our 13 year old daughter.
    I feel that she definitely would have said the same things.
    Our problem typically seems to be that when we do get into discussions, she gets angry and shuts down. If she’s talking and voicing her opinion or ideas, it’s okay, but when
    we have questions or a difference of opinion, it’s done. It’s been difficult and probably will continue to be for awhile. We are working at it from church level, school level & home level. Our prayers have definitely been working because the situation is improving.

    Reply
  2. Phil

    Excellent words today, David.

    You’re exactly right, it does take lots of intentionality and resolve to move through those years with grace (takes lots of that too).

    I’m glad you touched on prayer – it’s key. Parenting is a job beyond most of us. Prayer’s a LIFELINE!

    Have a great day today!
    Phil—

    Reply
  3. klampert

    Kurt: yeah listening is key…but only prayer can break through the shutting down and anger.

    Your in my prayers.

    Grits..its amazing how many youth arent listened to…most of there life is superficial which is why the internet is so huge..escape and people listen..or at least you think they do

    Reply
  4. Grits n' Grace Post author

    Kurt – I’m glad things are improving. Having a son and a daughter, I would say raising my daughter has been more difficult. I’m so proud of her and she’s become a such a wonderful young lady. However, between 13 and 15, we had our doubts. That’s a tough age for a kid and so much harder than when we were that age. They’re stuck between childhood and adulthood and they don’t know which to be. Some handle the transitional years just fine. Others will want to challenge everything you say and push the envelope of limitations until something breaks!

    Just love her and keep letting her know how much you love her and how much God loves her. And, of course, pray.

    Blessings to you, Kurt.

    David.

    Reply
  5. faithwalk

    Such a good reminder David, Thank you! Our kids today need to be heard. A istening ear says “I care about you” to someone.
    If they are not heard, sad things can happen. May the Lord help us all, not only with our kids, but with everyone.

    Richard is gone and I leave tomorrow! I’ll say hi to Ireland for you and if you think of us and feel led to; your prayers will be appreciated.

    Blessings to you and I’ll check in as able!

    Susan

    Reply
  6. blessed1

    Listening is something I try really hard to do. Especially this young….they learn things early. If my son knows I actively listen now…he’ll get that I will when he’s a teenager and so on. I want him to listen to me and it has to start with me setting the example.
    Thank you for this post!

    Reply
  7. Rachel

    Great post David-
    I think that whether we are adults or youth, we want someone to just listen to us. Not offer advice or Scripture or a 3 point plan, just listen. I think we can all name at least one person who is our “listener.” I have one. When I talk, she asks questions and I feel like at that very moment, there is nothing she would rather be doing than listening to me.
    I am one of the worst when it comes to listening and it’s an area I am really trying to grow in. I love to talk. I wrote about 15 scriptures on index cards and put them in a little photo album that I carry with me and read several times a day!
    One of them is:
    He who answers without listening, that is his folly and shame.
    Tough stuff but good stuff!
    Rachel

    Reply
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