An interesting thing happened this week among some of our younger students? Possibly you have experienced the same thing. Have you ever been in a conversation with someone about how you spent some time off? Did that person, knowingly or unknowingly, start to emphasize how much of a good time they had? Almost to the point that they became oblivious to anything you were saying? Have YOU ever possibly done that yourself? (Be honest now.)
Well, such was the case recently when some students at recess were together and started to talk about their Easter break. Standing there and watching this unfold, it was quite obvious that each of these students were mainly concerned about two things: 1) being heard; and 2) making sure their friends knew that that their experience was better that any of their other friends.
What Is The Big Deal?
Now you might be thinking, “What is the big deal here? These are only kids. They’re young.” Yes…this is true. But they won’t be young very long. And what they develop as habits now will become a deeper part of their make-up as they get older. Oh…by the way, one of the students in this group had suffered a great personal disappointment over the break which, as the others went on about their individual experiences, brought him to tears as he stood and listened to his schoolmates. He stood and suffered silently.
What is the point here? In scripture (James 1:19 to be exact), God speaks of being “quick to listen and slow to speak.” Nowhere does it specify the age at which such advice should apply. It should start as soon as one can use their ears and mouth to communicate with and understand what another person is saying. What is often forgotten by parents is that you don’t have to teach kids to be selfish. That is an embedded part of the sinful nature…in all of us, young and old. So, the language that we witnessed among those young students can be regarded as “selfish speak”, i.e. “what I have to say is more important than you want to tell me.”
What Is The Solution?
So what is the solution? Parents: it starts with you. Take some pro-active steps. Sit down with your kids and talk about how important it is to listen first. Teach them to ask questions. This is a further indication that the person they are speaking to is being listened to. Model this in your conversation not only with your kids but with your friends and work colleagues. This will take time. But isn’t this worth your time? You never know…your child just might be the one to connect with that someone who has just suffered great disappointment and is waiting to be heard and comforted. That is the definition of being a blessing.