As parents we are constantly directing our children. Clean your rooms, put your laundry in the hamper, pick up your school bag, do your chores. As I ponder this today, I am wondering, are we just directing with our mouths and not with our actions? Do we find our mouths speaking and our actions sleeping? To be an example and truly teach, we need both. So wake up your actions and be the example your children need.
Children are always watching our actions, but do not always hear our words. For example when we say " clean your room" then an hour later say it again, and maybe even a third time with no action occurring from our child. We decide to dish out our discipline only to hear our child say, "but mom, I didn't hear you." This is what is known to parents as "selective hearing." What our child is actually saying is not "I didn't hear you", rather "mom what you were saying I didn't find important enough to listen to". This I'm afraid is also the same thing that happens when we as parents are listening to our children with only our ears, not our hearts. We are (by our actions and body language) saying "what your saying is not important enough to listen to." Therefore our children translate this to "your not important enough to listen to."
We have to stop and take the time to give our children eye contact. To listen with our ears and allow our whole body to respond in the way that says "I'm listening, your important, and I want to stop what I am doing and listen to you." By giving our child our full attention and using or bodies to show action, this teaches our children to also listen to us in this same way with their full attention. We also need to listen to what their saying with our hearts. Then as we hear the words they are speaking, and read the body language they are using, we as the parent can read beyond the words, to what our child needs. Often the words our children use are opposite of what their body language is saying. As a parent we need to address both, the words and the body language. The words we can address directly. With the body language we may have to play detective until we feel that we understand exactly what is going on with the child. God gives us the discernment to do so, but we must decide (just like with any other gift He has given to us) to take the time and have the patience to use Gods gift.
After we feel confident that we understand what is bothering our child, or exciting our child, or just giving some loving attention that was needed. We must now switch from detective to problem solver, to comforter, to enjoying the news our child has, to just giving some extra time and love. Children are no different than us, they all need someone to be in their corner and show, not just say, that they love them. We as parents need to meet that need. Just like adults children also have problems communicating what they need and when they need it. As parents that becomes our responsibility (because we love our kids and want them to know it and feel it). We as adults also realize how hard it is sometimes to get across just what your feeling. So that should motivate us even more to try and figure out what your child is trying to say, even if they can't put it in words.
Read those actions! Actions speak louder than words, and your actions to your children will not only make them feel as though they are important to you. They will reaffirm a healthy confidence in your child, that they will carry with them through out life. A confidence in communication, in feeling important, in being loved, and in knowing that no matter what else is going on in mommy's life, she takes that time to listen to me.
A love that shows action is the only real love at all. This type of love was exampled on the cross on Calvary when Jesus died for our sins, because He loved us. He put His love into action to save us. He didn't tell us, as He was busy about His daily chores, He left heaven, came down to us, and died for us, action after action to affirm His great love! This is how we are to show our love, not only for our children but for Him also, but thats a whole different blog. LOL :)