“Hey mom, Jeremy is upset.”
“Okay Sarah, I’ll be right there.”
Mom is thinking, “Here we go again. Sarah is always making Jeremy upset. I can’t finish anything without somebody having an issue. I’ll get to it in a moment.”
Here is another example:.
“Dad, I’m really sorry I messed up and forgot to cut the grass. I’ll get to it right after lunch. Sorry dad.”
Inside, dad is losing it. He is thinking, “When will this kid ever grow up and be responsible?”
So in a frustrated voice he says, “James, when is this pattern going to change? You need to start being responsible. Don’t make promises you can’t keep!”
Dad walks away miffed, “At least I didn’t yell at him. I just hope he gets his act together before its too late. I’m getting really tired of this.”
Both of these parents were too busy listening to themselves and assuming what they thought was obvious instead of carefully listening to their children. The Bible says that it is both foolish and shameful to answer before listening. Proverbs 18:13. Both of these parents were speaking to themselves instead of listening.
Sarah’s mom didn’t give herself the opportunity to find out what was really going on with Jeremy. She just made an assumption based on previous events. She didn’t really know what the problem was or the real reason behind Jeremy’s upset. By listening to herself instead of her daughter she was not able to grasp that Jeremy was actually in some serious trouble and needed her help.
James’ dad didn’t realize that his son had spent the morning brooding about his own personal struggles with sin instead of cutting the grass. All dad knew was that there was grass that needed to be cut. His son needed someone to understand why he was tempted by pornography and to help him get out of this trap. However, it takes a strong relationship accomplish that. Dad was too busy listening to himself to make that happen, to be a refuge for his son. All he could think about was getting the grass cut. James’ dad needed to face the reality that he has to be a refuge for his son before he can be a resource.
The Bible’s straight-forward commands are there for a reason. As Moses says, these commands are our life. Proverbs 18:13, 15 are strong warnings. They help us lead our children to life. Ask God to help you listen more to your kids and less to yourself.