When they don’t listen

Listen!

We tell our kids a million times a day.

Listening is a skill. You have to practice. You’ll never know what that other person is thinking if you do all the talking.

And yet, how is it I continue to learn this lesson as an adult? It amazes me how imperfect communication can be, especially when intentions are sterling. And even when I think I’m doing my best listening, the kids will do something harebrained that leaves me wondering which conversation I missed. How do we go from loving and helpful to raging and screeching in seconds? What are we not hearing?

Everyone I know seems to be limping through December. I don’t know if it’s the stomach flu going around, the rain, the imminent vacation or an unruly alignment of stars – we don’t seem to have the usual celebratory glow. Well, it ain’t over yet. We’re choosing among our holiday traditions, shortening to-do lists as we can, and listening to each other. Hard. Because listening is the first thing to go when I get stressed, and it’s the main thing everyone else needs. So my imperfect, wandering ears are perked. I’m practicing not talking. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll learn something new that will help bring back the smiles and cut back on the grouchiness.

Speaking of listening, Tess’ school concert was tonight. She was so excited to perform, and was right in front! The kids were all excited to go hear her, and we as a family and shot out the door together perfectly on time. So maybe we’re on the holiday upswing!