first time listener.
Tomorrow is the last day of school for my 1st grader and Begindergartener. And I am more than thrilled. I can’t take one more minute in the pick up line (see previous post about my shame here), I can’t check the folder, I just so genuinely could care less about what is in that folder at this point. And packing lunch, well yes, while so many moms are packing cheese and raw onion slices, I gave my kids $20 each a couple weeks ago and said, you’re on your own until school is out. They are 7 and 5. (The 4 year old is surviving on gogurts)
With that though, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m nervous about school being out for the summer. My crew is HIGH energy. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been places and people have said “wow your kids are busy”, “your kids are energetic” your kids move around a lot” “your kids are loud”. And it’s all true…and I am ok with that. But it’s hard to manage at times if I’m keeping it real, and now, it is on…24/7.
With summer just hours away now, I’ve also seemed to notice that my kid’s listening skills have gotten bad. Like real, real bad. I think at one point this week I was talking and no one was listening so I starting singing ‘Mary had a little lamb’ at the top of my lungs just to get their attention. My “mom” voice (borderline yell) seems to be the only way to get anyone to focus, even after multiple (like one) attempt(s) at keeping calm.
So, we have reassessed and decided we need to press into our kids the idea of first time listening. Expecting that the first time we say something to them, they respond. This isn’t new to them, but we get busy and distracted and so do they. We start to get a little more relaxed in their response. They see they can get away with not listening the first or seventh time…
So the other day, I was at my daughter’s end of school year picnic. I wish I would have kept count, but my daughter, who is 5, must have asked me a dozen times if I would go and meet her friend’s mom. Right away she said, “look mom, there is so and so’s mom, go say hi”. I just brushed her off, I had no idea who she was talking about. Again and again, my daughter said, look there she is, let’s go say hi. I really didn’t understand why she wanted me to meet this lady, I knew all of her friends moms, I was busy making my rounds chatting with all of them.
Finally, at the very end of the picnic, my daughter asked me again and basically pulled me over to meet this lady.
Turns out, this woman had just moved to our town. Her daughter is the new girl in my daughter’s class (brand new as of 2 weeks ago – at the very end of the school year). The two of them had just moved to our town to get out of a dicey situation. I knew once she told me where she was living that things we not very stable for the 2 of them. We talked for awhile and ended up exchanging numbers and making a plan to meet in a week or so. Playdate, dinner and church. This sweet momma was so thankful I came and talked to her.
Once I left the picnic it all hit me. The woman, the situation, my 5 year old. Especially my 5 year old. What if she hadn’t been so persistent? (She is pretty stubborn, so it’s not really a concern, but you never know) She asked me repeatedly to go and meet this mom and I would NOT listen to her. I think at one point, I walked in the other direction, I was so distracted by everything else that was going on there.
It leaves me wondering, am I really listening? Really listening…
Truth is, there is a world beyond our doorsteps full of people that need us. Most of the time though, they are quiet. They are not easily heard. And in order for us to help them, we need to be listening. For me, I am 100 percent sure God was using my sweet little Begindergartener to speak into someone’s life. And I almost let that slip away.
So with summer break kicking off tomorrow, I realize that I need to listen. Listen to my kids, listen to my neighbors, my friends, whoever may fall in path. I think it’s safe to say, if I work on my own “first time listening”, my kids will get a heck of a lot better at it also.