No matter what age, everyone has a deep need to be valued and respected. When you instill value into others and show love to them, you are sowing valuable seeds of respect that will come back as a harvest of blessing in the future.
I believe part of being respectful and considerate is to listen attentively. When you’re talking with someone, you should make every effort to give them your undivided attention. Learn to stop what you are doing for a few minutes and give the people in your life the gift of listening.
A lot of times when a person is in conversation, they are thinking about what they are going to say next. But, what if instead of thinking about what you are going to say, you think about what the other person is saying? You may already know where the conversation is headed, but that’s okay; be considerate and let them finish anyway. Maybe someone asks you a question, and you know the answer before they finish speaking. Resist the tendency to jump in there and cut them off with, “Here, let me tell you what to do.”
I’ve found this to be especially important with children. I recognized early on in motherhood that my children have a need to be heard. I desire to meet that need and instill confidence in them, so I have learned to be creative when communicating with them. I do my best to give them the opportunity to share their feelings and explain their point of view. I want them to know that I value and respect what they have to say. I want to instill value in them instead of just saying, “The answer is no—just because I said so!”
As a parent, I don’t believe you have to justify every parenting decision or candy-coat everything you say to your children, but you can always find a way to present your point in a positive, educational way that allows some dialogue. If you have teenagers in your house, you know how important it is for them to be heard. Don’t shut them down with, “It’s not up for discussion.” Sometimes they don’t even care if they get their way; they simply want you to listen to them.
When you listen to your children and the people in your life, it builds their confidence and makes them feel valued and loved. Today, look for ways to give the gift of listening and sow seeds of life into your relationships!
“Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19, NKJV).