Let Me See Your Eyes
The art of listening is a learned skill; therefore, it has to be taught. The only way to know if someone is truly listening to you is to see their eyes, the lamp of their body. In our family, we made a practice of requiring our children to look at us when we spoke to them. We would simply say, “Let me see your eyes”, when we began talking to them.
Children are busy in their life work of play. Usually they are not interested in stopping an important task to hear what you have to say, especially a talk that requires an adjustment on their part. But children usually respond to a positive, simple command when they know you respect them and have their best interest at heart.
It’s easy for a child to later tell you they “didn’t hear” something important you told them. However, if they were looking at you at the time you can simply remind them they were looking at you and acknowledged the information and therefore you know they heard you. Mirroring is important as well, so consider having them repeat whatever point or requirement you are making when you speak to them… “now what did I say?”
As adults we have to lead out on this by example. We need to look at our children when they speak to us. Eye-to-eye is the best way, so don’t hesitate to kneel down on their level to give that respect which will, in turn, build their self-esteem.
So don’t talk to the top or back of their little heads and don’t give your backside when they speak. This is important and worth the investment. You’ll be glad you engaged in this simple practice. Listening is such an important life skill, especially in our age of consuming electronics. Give it a try!
Matthew 6:22 (NIV)
22 The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.
James 1:19 (NIV)
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.