One of the greatest things that you can do for your children, in preparing them for school, is to teach them to listen.
“A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.” Proverbs 13:1
As most parents will probably understand and agree, the ability to “hear” is not a character trait that children are born with. They need to be taught how to listen. In doing that, you will also be training them to be a wise son! How do you teach them to listen?
- Start when your children are young! While it is not impossible it is definitely more difficult to teach a 10-year-old how to listen than it is to teach a 2-year-old how to listen. For those who may be getting a “late start,” don’t fret. It is not impossible, you will just need to be that much more determined!
- Make sure they look at you when you speak to them. Demand – Yes, demand – that they give you their attention. Too many parents try to speak to their children while their children are paying attention to the TV or an iPad. And, before you begin to blame the TV or the iPad just ask yourself, “Who allowed them to have the TV or the iPad?” Typically the answer to that question will be, “I did!” Mom and Dad, sometimes we create our own problems!
- Don’t allow them to ignore you. While they are not born with the ability to “hear;” most children can do a wonderful job at ignoring their parents! This goes back to #2. Make sure they look at you when you speak to them. If they cut their eyes away to the TV or iPad, stop, and make sure to get their attention again.
- Make sure that they understand what you have told them. That will necessitate that you ask them questions to verify that they heard you and understood what you told them. Don’t simply ask, “Did you hear me?” or “Do you understand?” Children will typically just nod their head in response to those questions. Instead, ask them, “What did I just tell you to do?”
- “Inspect what you expect!” Make sure to follow-up with them to be sure they followed through with what you told them!
- Be determined! As a parent, you need to be more determined to teach your children to listen then they are determined to ignore you. Don’t give up! Much of parenting is a matter of “Who’s going to give up first!” It’s a battle of the wills. Be determined that you are going to win and that you are going to teach them how to listen!
- Set the right example! Mom and Dad, you need to be a good listener as well. Do you pay attention to your authority? Do you listen to your pastor? Do you listen to God?
“A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.” Proverbs 15:20
We often bemoan the fact that so many young people today will not listen to their teachers, police officers, or other authority figures. But, If you do not teach your child to listen, they are not going to listen to these others. More importantly, if they do not learn to listen to you, they will not listen to God when He seeks to guide and direct them. You will never regret taking the time and expending the energy necessary to teach your child how to listen. And, I can tell you from personal experience, your child’s teacher will thank you for it!