Newsflash! Kids talk. A lot.
It is so exciting when our precious little babies begin babbling “mama” and “dada”. We praise them and excitedly clap our hands and encourage them to say it again. But once they start they never stop! They narrate their every action, or even some daydreams. It is a cycle of never ending stories and anecdotes that cause parents to tune out and nod their head in agreement to they know not what.
“Someone to tell it to is one of the fundamental needs of human beings.” -Miles Franklin
Sometimes I forget that these children in my home are actually tiny human beings. They are miniature versions of myself and my husband and they have thoughts, feelings, and needs just like we do. They have a story to tell and sometimes in their excitement it is told many times. How do I respond? Do I respond with annoyance or apathy? Or do I respond in kindness with a genuine interest in the interests of my children?
In Philippians 2:3-4 we read, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” How often do I act unkindly and think of only my own interests, while shushing my children mid-story? How often do I ask them to play by themselves or with each other so I do not have to play with their favorite toys… again? How often do I think myself and my time more significant than them and their time?
When you get good news, you immediately think of someone with whom you wish to share it. You know they will share your excitement and rejoice with you. Usually these people are our family members or closest friends. To children, parents are a large part of their world. In a positive family environment, children spend the most time with their parents, learn expectations of the world from their parents, and form the strongest bonds with their parents. For young children, everyday life is exciting and feels new so they naturally want to share this with those closest to them. Parents are the lucky ones to hear all about the days adventures and to see firsthand the wonder of their favorite toys recreating play sequences time and time again. It is a great kindness to listen, watch, and participate in the play of children. This kindness develops children’s confidence in their voice and emotions.
There are many ways that parents can act kindly to children, but listening to them is one great act of kindness that is too often disregarded. We all want to share our stories and make an influence in this world. Let us treat our children like their stories matter and place the correct importance on their feelings and actions. As we are reminded in Matthew 7:12, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” Are we treating our children kindly by respecting their thoughts, opinions, and dreams? Or are we creating a generation whose desires are stifled and whose ideas must wait for a more opportune time?
There is a big emphasis in today’s world on “choosing kindness” and to “be kind”. Let us not forget to be kind to our own families within our own homes. Let us not hinder the little children, but welcome them with open and loving arms.