There is no better and ultimately no other way to teach your children that they are valuable people than by valuing them.
Second, the more children feel valuable, the more they will begin to say things of value. They will rise to your expectation of them.
Third, the more you listen to your child, the more you will realize that in amongst the pauses, the stutterings, the seemingly innocent chatter, your child does indeed have valuable things to say.
I love this quote from one of my favorite books The Road Less Traveled. If you have children, undoubtedly you understand the task it is sometimes to try to listen to them… to filter out the endless (and sometimes mindless) talking to get what they are telling you. I joke around a lot with my 3 1/2 year old, and enjoy teasing him and adding play to our days, but I love hearing what he has to say – it usually surprises me how much he already knows.
The thing is, if I don’t really try to understand what he’s thinking about things, how will I know what to teach him? What if he’s got the wrong idea? What if he’s confused about something, but thinks he’s right? How would I be able to get him to listen to me, if I don’t give him the time and effort it takes to fully listen to him.
Teenagers are a completely different side of the same coin. If you have a teenager, especially a teenage boy, it might take some work to draw them out to tell you what they are thinking – or to be able to put down everything you’re doing when you can tell they need to talk, but it is so worth it!
A couple of nights ago, when I was putting my little one to bed, he was praying and thanking God for all of his family. Then he peeked up at me with laughter in his smile and said, “And thank you God for my silly Mommy!” There is no greater treasure than getting to be that role for him. I feel like I’ve been blessed with too much.