One of my favorite contributors to the book is Ronald Heifetz, who changed his work schedule so he could pick up his children after school. “I run to my car. I drive like a madman. I get to their school…. And then out come the stories, stories I never used to hear at dinnertime, because I’ve discovered for myself that generally they only tell it once, and they tell it to whoever is there.”
His story reminds me that, in the midst of our busy lives, we need to be intentional about making time for our kids. But there is something else beyond just being there. We need to ask fewer questions and just listen, waiting to see where they take the conversation on their own, without any direction from us.
Artur Schnabel, an Austrian composer and pianist, once said, “But the spaces between the notes—ah, that is where the art resides!” Asking follow-up questions tends to keep the conversation in the same place. On the other hand, if you just listen with interest and attention, when your child finishes one thought, he or she is likely to pause, look again, and find something else to say.
And they just may go someplace you wouldn’t have expected them to go!
Something to think about…Who could use a good listening to?
Where do you need a bit more patience, less talking, and less interrupting?
—from page 76 of Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids