Listening with your Eyes

The minister at our church shared this story during his sermon the other day and it hit me, well, right between the eyes.

There was a woman who was busy in her kitchen one afternoon cooking dinner for her children. Her daughter bounded in from school and excitedly asked her mom, “Mommy, guess what happened at school today?”

Without looking up from her recipe book, her mother said, “What?”

“Mommy, look at me,” the girl said.

“I’m listening,” said her mother, irritably.

“But, Mommy, you’re not listening with your eyes,” the little girl said.

How often do you listen with your eyes?

We are so distracted these days. All the time. There is a constant and unrelenting influx of information, data, scores, stock prices, emails, texts, phone calls, blogs, posts, updates, tweets, pics, pins and more. We are juggling more information on a real-time basis than any other generation in the history of the world. It is impossible for us to manage it all and still maintain our interpersonal relationships. I find myself glued to my twitter feed or watching videos of the previous day’s Baltimore Orioles game when I should be spending quality time with my children.

How often do we forget to listen to our children with our eyes?

Sometimes my children are an interruption. Don’t they know I’m listening to a ballgame right now? Don’t they know that I just need a few minutes of “me” time?

It’s challenging to put our desires on hold for someone else. But there are times when I have to remind myself that giving up a few minutes of my “precious” time for my children will have lasting effects.

Here are three ways I plan to do it:

If I’m not at the top of a ladder cleaning the gutters or holding a 40-pound bag of cement over my head, I pledge to stop what I’m doing immediately and give my children my undivided attention. They may have to wait for me to climb down the ladder, put down the bag of cement or pause the television first, however.

I plan to get their attention before they get mine. When my kids get home from school or return from a play date, I’m going to stop what I’m doing and inquire about their day. It might be a brief conversation or lengthy one but there will be doubt in my child’s mind that I am interested in their thoughts, feelings and experiences.

I’m going to encourage “Talking Times.” We need to spend time talking to each other, whether it’s at the table during a meal, before bedtime or after school. It doesn’t have to be a long period of time. Rather, it has to merely be enough time for each family member to share whatever is on their mind or on their heart.

This is what I believe: If I take the time to listen with my eyes, I will not only create a stronger, more lasting and trusting relationship with my children but I will also set an example for them to follow. The technology that we are currently addicted to will only infiltrate their lives in a deeper way. If I show them by example how to listen with my eyes, hopefully they will learn to listen with theirs, too.

Comments

The Beginning
About Happiest Daddy

Two boys, one wife and a ton of material. I live for family and I'm one of the most blessed people you will ever meet.

After Charlottesville, Read this…

I watched the events unfold in Charlottesville, … [Read Article]

5 Unique Anniversary Gifts for Your…

Remember what it was like when you were wooing … [Read Article]

A Child’s Question & Race…

The other day 5 asked me a question: "Daddy, … [Read Article]