Marilyn, “Tell your child every day you love them, and show that love by the way you treat them. Take a few minutes to listen to them if they want to tell you something happened at school, or about a program they saw on television. If you tell them you’re too busy to listen right now, they will eventually stop trying to communicate with you.” Tip 3
After reading Marilyn’s tips, I can see why her daughter wanted her to contribute. It is clear Marilyn set the stage for, and ensured, a warm and loving home.
Marilyn mentioned her own childhood was full of hugs, kisses, and kindness. I’m guessing the same was true for her children.
I could feel the importance of Marilyn’s third tip, highlighting actively loving and listening. Her sentiment leapt off the page. I appreciate the way, and the frequency in which she demonstrated love.
I agree, it isn’t enough to just tell your kids you love them every day. I know some Moms incessantly tell their kids, “I love you,” while swatting them away. Saying it and showing it are entirely different realms. True listening, is where the magic happens, and trust develops.
Some parents may not even know how to show love, so they speak of it. Marilyn describes perfectly how to show love. Show love by listening, by plugging-in.
I remember how hard listening was for me, and sometimes still is. Listening, actually listening, requires much attention; undivided attention. I have to stop, sit, make eye contact, focus, and remain focused.
I recognize at times, kids are not interesting. They can drone on. Sometimes you may have heard the story already, you may have more pressing matters. At times, you may be tired, sick, depressed, afraid, preoccupied, or even broken-hearted. Listening can be tough.
I believe, my issues and my feelings should not be a priority in Michael’s life. Michael, and his feelings, should always be prioritized. I tried to follow that rule, even in the madness.
I once thought I had “more pressing matters.” I now know, there is nothing more important than what my child has to say.
The more intently you can listen, the more love you can demonstrate. Before long, they likely won’t be talking much at all. If you can find a way to enjoy their tales, you’ll both be better for it.
In a busy world or in a busy mind, listening can seem like a lot to ask. Giving your full attention can be exhausting. If you give you kid ½ your attention, or even ¾ of it, they can sense your mind adrift. Michael would call me, still calls me, on this behavior, so I know it is detected.
I recall looking at him, nodding in the right places, he would say, “Mom! You aren’t listening.” I think, I thought I was listening. He needed 100% of my “listening ears.” Kids are keen. They may not call you on it, but they will sense it.
They’re harder to fool than you might think.