Children Do Listen



Photo: Pedro Irizarry


If you have been a parent for any length of time you know that kids will make you look bad every time. Whether it is the baby proving you wrong when you say, “Come look! She just rolled over!” And she doesn’t roller over again - for another four weeks. Or whether it is your angel faced son who hasn’t been bringing home the notes from his teacher. Or whether it is your toddler throwing herself down in the middle of Wal-Mart screaming for a new toy— kids will make you look like a horrible parent. 

I remember my most embarrassing moment. I had taken my two little girls out shopping to a department store for some new clothes. Everything was going pretty well. But you know how little kids are. They like to run around and hide in the clothing racks. Today was no different.

I had just told Sarah, “Don’t run in the store!” But as children are apt to do, she immediately forgot my words and charged for the clothing rack – full speed ahead.

Before I knew what had happened I heard that sound. The kind of sound no parent wants to hear. A CRASH and a CLATTER. I turned to look and watched, horrified as the rack of clothing tipped over, falling directly on the rack next to it. And then, as if in a dream, I watched as the entire row of clothing racks, all the way down the center aisle of the store, fell like a perfectly laid out dominos game.

Mutual Embarassment

There was nothing I could do to prevent it. You can imagine how everyone in the store turned and looked at the racks – and then at me. My faced turned red and I thought, “This isn’t happening.” I looked down to see my precious Sarah Rose, popping her little head out from beneath the pile of clothing. Her faced was as red as mine. She was humiliated. I, too, wished the floor would open up and swallow me.

At that moment I had a choice. I could either laugh or cry. So… I burst out laughing! I mean, how could you not laugh? I realized that Sarah had delivered her own punishment. I didn’t have to say a word. 

Sometimes as parents we think, “These kids never hear a word I am saying!” I suppose, yes, sometimes they really aren’t listening. Sometimes they look over at us, just daring us to react. Other times they act like little angels and we wonder where the real monster-child is hiding.

Patience is important when you are a parent. There are times when we just have to choose patience because, it’s not happening any other way. Be consistent in your teaching, training, and disciplining of your child. Your child really is listening to – and watching – everything you say and do. The Bible tells us, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22: 6). Notice it says, "when he is old." Kids will listen, learn and remember – and then do everything they can to test your character in the process. In the end… it will be worth it.

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By Melissa Ringstaff, director of A Virtuous Woman - Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject tousage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.