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Slower is Faster
Photo: H Berends
You cannot raise kids efficiently.

I’m a task-oriented kind of guy. I like making lists and checking them off. When my mind focuses on a project, everything else fades into infinity. This is a gift when a job needs to be completed, but it is a terrible strategy for raising kids.

Yesterday, my 11-year-old son tried to explain to me that we needed more RAM (computer memory) for our home computer. He’s learning about video editing and the program is bogging down.

All the while he was speaking, I was “getting a job done.” I needed to finish up some work on a new pantry my brother is helping me install for our kitchen. So, I looked at Kendall occasionally while my hands (and mind) were somewhere else. Until he interrupted my thoughts by saying, “Dad, you’re not listening to me!”

He was right. I set down my tools, turned and looked him in the eye and said, “I’m sorry. I wasn’t listening. Tell me again. I want to hear what you have to say.” He forgave me and then started over. This time I heard him and I could tell he appreciated it.

The Bible reminds me how to slow down and listen to my children. The following Bible verse usually speaks about stewardship and money. But I think it has everything to do with understanding the heart of your son or daughter. It says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

How can you find the treasure in your child’s life unless you slow down? Here are three ways to listen more deeply (and slowly) to your child’s heart:
  1. What interests them, interests you. You may not find computers interesting, but if that is what interests your son or daughter, listen and learn. By showing curiosity for their interests, you tell them, “You are important to me.”
  2. Set aside time to focus on your child. We’ve all heard the statistics about how precious little time parents talk with their kids. Break the statistics. Take 5-10 minutes to sit down and look your child in the eye and ask them, “How’s it going?” Shut off the TV and talk. Ask them questions when you tuck them in bed. It may take some time for them to open up if you haven’t done this before.
  3. Don’t manipulate the conversation. How many times has someone finished your sentences? How did it make you feel? I know you may think your child’s chatter is nonsense, but their hearts long to be known. At the dinner table, focus on drawing out the quieter members of the family.
Are you looking for a quick way to raise your children? Slow down! By slowing down and listening, you will find treasure—your child’s heart.

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®.

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