Seen and not heard

Think a minute…A grown woman told this story from her childhood. “I was the oldest of ten children, so I was taught to be very responsible from a young age. When I was six-years-old my mother was driving my sisters and me on a long trip to visit my aunt. I was sitting in the back of the car with my three sisters.

My youngest sister was a two-month old baby at the time, and I saw she was having trouble breathing. I said: ‘Mom, something is wrong with Diana! Stop the car!” But my mother said what she always said: ‘Oh, she’ll be fine.’ When we finally got to my aunt’s house, my baby sister was dead.”  

Ever hear the saying: “Children are to be seen and not heard.” Yes, it is important that we teach our children to respect adults. We all want our children to listen to us when we speak to them.

But do we listen to them when they talk to us? It seems that because they are a little person, children sometimes are wrongly seen as a half-person; that just because they have little bodies, their opinions and feelings have little worth. 

A wise father observed: “Parents spend two years teaching their children to walk and talk, and 18 years teaching them to sit down and be quiet.” Remember, if we do not show love and respect to our children, then they will not learn to respect themselves.

But when we listen to our children, we are letting them know that they are important—something all we human beings need to know inside. When you listen to their thoughts and feelings, you are building their self-confidence and self-respect that they are going to need to succeed as adults. 

Listen to this prayer from a parent: “Father, forgive me for not treating my children like you have treated me. Help me to be sensitive and understanding of their feelings and frustrations. Help me to listen to what they have to say.

Help me to respect my child as an important human being you made in your likeness. Give me your heart to patiently love and teach my child, just as you have patiently loved and taught me. Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you will give me all I need to become the parent my kids need.

In your name I ask this, Amen.” Will you pray that prayer today? You have tremendous power to help your children succeed when they become adults—by listening to their feelings and needs now. Just think a minute…

Samoa Observer

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