Using My Listening Ears

11 Apr

Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what.
If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.

– Catherine M. Wallace


That quote has been swirling through my head recently, working towards the surface of my consciousness just when I need it the most.When I’m tempted to say, “Just let me finish this chapter, Ella, then we can talk” or “I need to write an email first”, I remember that now is the time to lay a foundation of communication. A foundation of belief that I always care about and respect what she wants to share with me. The opportunity won’t always be here and the email can wait. The chapter will still be there when I get back to it. Even if it’s the millionth conversation about maned wolves, I still need to appear engaged. I can, on occasion, multi task my mind by responding to her while formulating my grocery list. Even then, I have to be careful to remain present in our conversation. Her life revolves around maned wolves, but it won’t always be so simple.

Someday, her life will revolve around things outside of our home, the life we share. She will build her own relationships, her own interests, her own set of worries and stresses that I have no control over or direct influence. Our conversations and what she shares with me will be my only window into her life. If I don’t take her 3 year old size cares, worries and triumphs seriously, how can I expect her to share with me her teenage cares, worries and triumphs?

For now, I’m putting aside books, knitting and emails in favor of foundations. It can be hard to listen and take her seriously right now, but it will be even harder to try and build this foundation when she’s twelve. So here’s to maned wolves, for they are the forerunner to open and genuine relationships later on.

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4 Responses to “Using My Listening Ears”

  1. Beka April 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    wow…. that’s a little trippy…. I’ve been having a very similar experience myself! thanks for sharing. 🙂 It is hard, and definitely an act of faith, to engage fully with our little ones now. I pray that the lines of communication will stay strong!

    • Dallas Ann April 12, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

      It seems like so many I know is struggling with this! I find it so reassuring that I’m not the only one. ❤

  2. Helena April 11, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this. I think I needed to hear it.

    Lately Katrina has been all about (imaginary) dinosaurs and hanging out with her little cousin. It’s hard to drop the emails, books, and knitting (you and I have that in common!) and have yet another conversation about what cousin Hannah did yesterday (right down to recounting the diaper changes), but maybe if I look at it as communication building it’ll feel a little easier. 🙂

    • Dallas Ann April 12, 2011 at 2:10 pm #

      Yes! Parenting is so intangible sometimes. Looking back, I’m sure we’ll see the fruits of our labors but right now it can be *so* frustrating.

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