The Gift of Listening

I was reading a book in bed the other night when I heard JJ calling our dog to come get her treat. He was actually luring Chelsea to her doggie bed.

Daisy, our beagle, was already outside doing her business, anticipating the reward of a doggy biscuit if she obediently came back inside and went straight to her bed. However, Chelsea, our thirteen-year-old daschund, was in la-la land. Sound asleep in her chair, nothing was going to get her to budge. Not even the promise of a treat.

I wondered if Chelsea had perfected her “selective hearing” skills (knowing it was bedtime) or if she’s going deaf. I had a feeling it was the latter.

Once the dogs were tucked in bed, we laughed about how Chelsea used to hear every little thing. If the wind blew a leaf outside our front door she barked.

Andrew (my almost 10-year old) came to my bedside to kiss me goodnight. With a concerned look in his eyes, he said, “Mom, I hope when you get old you don’t go deaf like Chelsea.”

I laughingly told him that when I’m as old as Chelsea, it might be good if I can’t hear everything. She gets a lot more sleep than she used to, and I love to sleep! She also doesn’t hear when we laugh at her, and it might be good if I don’t hear their jokes about me either.

My light response didn’t wipe the concern off his brow, so I asked why he was afraid I won’t be able to hear him.

“Well, sometimes you don’t hear me now. Like when you’re on the computer and I ask you a question, sometimes you don’t hear me.” He answered without hesitation.

(Ouch!) I was not expecting that answer. I almost plunged into a “bad mommy” moment. My child thinks I can’t hear him. I felt bad because in my heart, although I may be deeply distracted, I know that I hear him but I don’t always listen.

Instead of going on a guilt-trip, I pulled Andrew close to me and told him I was sorry for not listening sometimes.

I didn’t want him to fear that old age might make it worse. So, I explained how me being on the computer is similar to when he’s watching a good movie or playing video games. He gets all involved, almost like he’s in another world, and sometimes he doesn’t hear other noises, like me calling him for dinner. He nodded with understanding.

Then I made a promise I really want to keep. “I am going to try really hard to stop what I am doing when you come to me, look away from my computer screen and really listen to what you are saying. You’re more important than emails, work, or anything I do on the computer. What you have to say matters to me! I love you and I want to hear you.”

That night God showed me another gift I can give to my kids and my husband this Christmas. It doesn’t cost money. It doesn’t have to be a huge chunk of time. I give the gift each time I stop what I am doing, look up when I hear their voices, turn my attention toward them, and simply listen.

The gift of listening… it’s another way I can give more of me this Christmas.

Another Christmas Give-Away
I’d love to hear a funny or heart-touching story of how someone you love left a fingerprint on your heart like Andrew did with me last week. Post your name and/or a thought in the comments section to be part of my next Christmas give-away:

  • Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young. This is my favorite mini-devotional book. It’s is the sweetest appetizer to my time in the Word. It draws me close to Jesus’ heart and helps me listen for HIS voice each day.

Click on the word “comments” to share a story (or just your name and email) to enter. I’ll do the drawing Wednesday night (now Thursday… I didn’t think I’d get to do the holiday home tour this week but I DID!! I am extending the drawing to Thursday so there are more potential winners). Also, I have another give-away this weekend! Fun, fun, fun!

Christmas blessings!

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Digging for Pearls says:

    Today I have been busily trying to do things around the house – laundry, cleaning up, sorting. My 13 year old son kept following me from room to room until I stopped long enough that he could get a hug from me. OUCH! How is it sometimes that I get so wrapped up in my “to do” list, that I miss out on the joy of loving on my sons and husband!

  2. Lelia Chealey says:

    Last night as I typed my post the tears would not stop flowing as I posted on our 18 year old daughter who touched my heart the other day. She is pregnant and asked me if contractions hurt. I first viewed it as a silly question, but a few days later, God showed me different. I believe it was God’s sweet way of showing me that she still needs her Mom as she soon becomes one.
    Loved your son’s honesty.
    Blessings~
    Lelia
    http://www.leliachealey.blogspot.com

  3. Hey Renee,
    “Jesus Calling” is my favorite devotional also! Just to see it sitting there with my Bible allows me to think of him actually calling me to share some time with him and as I read the words I try to imagine him speaking them to me. As I think back over the years when my children were younger I so long to have so many moments back when I should have listened better, played more, and hugged longer, and I can’t get that time back. It is so good that you have realized it while your boys are still young. Although, they never get to old to need the listening ears and the warm hugs.
    Christmas Blessings, Margaret

  4. GrammaGrits says:

    Thanks for the Christmas giveaways! Blessed by your words.

  5. It’s so easy to tune out the constant chatter of my 4.5 year old.Thank you for reminding me to listen more attentively!~

    Jessie
    randjmills@juno.com

  6. I really enjoyed your home tour. Such a lovely, place. It looks like a warm, sweet place for your family.

    I remember not long ago, my daughter had kept asking me to come pray with her at night before bed. I finally got a little agitated and said, “Honey, I WILL, don’t I always pray with you….why do you keep asking?” Her reply was, “Well, the other night you must have forgot, cuz I fell asleep before you got there and I really tried to stay up.” I felt bad, because I remembered that I did go in after she had went to sleep. To think about her patiently waiting and trying her best to stay awake for me made me a little sad. I had to remind myself to try not to ever keep one of my children waiting again when they are waiting to pray with me!!

  7. So sweet !
    hfrick47@msn.com

  8. Shiver me timbers, them’s some great inotimaorfn.

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