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Parents are all the time saying to me, "I've tried to talk to my kids about that, but they won't even listen."

Let me tell you, Mom and Dad, you will never be able to have a deep conversation with your child if you don't first have some idiot conversations with him.

If you aren't willing to listen to all the dumb things your kids have to say, you will never be able to talk to them about the important things. It's called communicating.

Learn To Listen
I have learned to be a good listener. Sometimes when my children start talking to me, everything sounds so silly. I feel like saying to them: "I'm too busy to listen right now. I have some important things to think about, so you just sit down and be still." But that's no good. I have to be willing to listen to them.

Let me give you a Scripture:
Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.
(Prov. 20:5)
I have to look at all six of my kids and know that God has put a gift inside each of them. I don't necessarily know the gifts they have, because I don't have revelation on it. God has to show me like He shows them.

I know, however, that, as I listen to my children, out of the abundance of the heart the mouth will speak (Matt. 12:34). The desires of each child will be expressed.

By listening to them, I will find out what they are interested in. Then I will know what to start praising about them. I want to start promoting my children and what they do, so I make comments like, "You know, you're really good at that, honey."

I read a story about an artist in which he tells how God gave him the ability and the talent but that his mom put wings to the gift. When his mom came home one day, she found that her little boy had taken out the ink bottle and had been drawing what he thought were the most beautiful pictures.

Of course, he was just scribbling—and he had spilled ink all over everything! Looking back on it, he wondered why his mom didn't give him a good spanking.

But she didn't panic. She walked over and picked up the papers he had been drawing on. Then she said, "Son, I didn't know you could draw so good. That's great!" She must have spent ten minutes just bragging on him.

Then she said, "Let's put your pictures up here on the refrigerator to dry, and we'll clean up this mess before your dad gets home."

After that, every time he would draw, his mom just bragged on him. As a result, he became a very famous man.

Wounded Spirits
Another story was told to me by a businessman who had been away on a trip. He said he had really missed his family. But as soon as he walked in the house, he noticed that trash was running over in the kitchen, and it was the job of his fifteen-year-old son to empty trash.

That son came running up to hug his dad's neck, but before the boy could even touch him, Dad unleashed on him, saying, "How come you haven't emptied the trash? I've been gone for five days! Don't you know that it's your job to empty the trash?"

The son apologized three times on the way up the stairs, saying, "I'm real sorry, Dad." But his dad just increased his ranting and raving.

When they sat down for supper, Dad's stomach started churning as God began dealing with him, saying: "Your son ran up to hug your neck because he has a relationship with you, and you just killed it over some trash that could have been emptied in about thirty seconds."

That businessman realized then that he had to change his ways.

Think Before You Act
If parents don't watch out, they can do little things everyday that can kill their relationship with their child and wound their child's spirit. Parents can still teach and train their children without killing their spirits, but it requires them to be wise stewards.

It's like an ant hill. There are some big red ants here in Oklahoma. You can kick down the ant hill or stick firecrackers in it and blow it up, but by the next day those ants will build it back up again.

However, they will only work at rebuilding that hill for so long; then they give up. I have seen it happen. It looks as if they have packed their suitcases and are moving out, as if to say: "There's no reason to rebuild this hill; somebody just keeps kicking it down. Why should we try again? Why make the effort? It's hopeless."

You never want your children to reach that point. Therefore, strive to become a better communicator and listener for your child today!

Source: God Knows How To Raise Your Kids, Even If You Don't by Joe McGee.
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Joe McGee
Web site: Joe McGee Ministries
Joe McGee, author, national conference speaker, father, and former school administrator, is the founder and director of Joe McGee Ministries, Inc. and Faith For Families Ministries.

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