Wednesday, January 26, 2011

From the Overflow - Conversing with Children

The smell of coffee filled the cabin. Dad made a 12-cup pot that morning. 

"I don't care if you give the kids coffee this morning," I'd told him, "but you get to deal with them when they're bouncing off the walls from the caffeine buzz."

Having a cup of coffee with Mom and Dad opened up a world of conversation. Our four children, ages six through eleven, couldn't believe I would allow them to drink coffee like an adult. Kudo points for Dad!

Ezra's conversations no longer revolve around video games. Sure, we talk about a game he likes to play every now and then, but he's hit a conversation maturity point. He's a pre-teen. He wants to discuss more adult things, like making money, how to get along with others, and what's on the news. As his mother, I find joy in standing in the kitchen discussing something other than the XBOX and Star Wars games.

And then, there are his three younger siblings. 

Caleb loves getting away from his younger and older siblings. He dreams of being an only child, at times. My parents came to visit us and wanted to spend one day with each child, doing something they'd enjoy. Caleb took Grandpa and Grandma to the Air and Space Museum in Pensacola, FL. When my Mom and Dad walked through the door of our house at the end of the day, they breathed a sigh of relief. Dad chuckled and smiled. Mom explained, "He hasn't stopped talking since we got in the car to leave this morning. He's talked non-stop all day." I smiled. Yep. That's my boy! He has such a vivid imagination, he makes up stories. Once he's gained your ear, he'll tell you all sorts of things. One minute, he'll be telling a story about ninjas. The next, he'll be sharing information that may or may not be too personal. Then, he'll tell you about a science project he's working on. Caleb enjoys one-sided conversations.

Hannah asks 50 questions. I sat down with her to watch Secretariat last night. It came out on DVD yesterday, and I've been anxious to see it. She loves girlie movies and horse movies, so I thought it'd be great mommy-daughter time. Until about 5 minutes into the movie, when she asked, "Why are they all wearing black?" After I whispered, "That's what people wear to a funeral," she asked, "Did Grandpa Vance die or did Grandpa Johnson die?" I answered, "Great Grandpa Vance passed away, honey." And that lead her to another question. I finally told her she needed to stop asking questions and watch the movie. Until 10 minutes later, when she asked another question. It doesn't matter what we're doing, she's got a question about that or something else. On the way to school this morning, I explained to the children they would not be allowed to whine and complain any more. If they did, they would be sent to their rooms, because I will not allow them to bring the rest of the family down with them. They would have to be miserable alone. Hannah pipes up and asks, "What time are you coming to my class?" Completely off-topic and yet another question. Our conversation consists of her asking and me telling. 

Gideon doesn't converse much. When he does, it's usually about video games, something he's concerned about, or to ask a simple question, like, "Can I get a hug?"

As a parent, I've had to face blunt answers and no explanation. I've faced the "Why?" season with each child. I've enjoyed some real conversations, where my children talk about life and experiences and I've been able to respond with the same. And yet I still find myself wondering if I do well with conversations. I still struggle to find open-ended questions to ask in order to get them talking. 

And then, there are my conversations with God. He is so easy to talk to. He listens intently with open ears and love in His heart for me. He responds with gentleness and self-control. He whispers some answers and bellows others, but He always answers in love. Some days I need to be still in order to hear Him. Others, He'll answer in the midst of my ramblings. But He's always there, no matter how my day is going. I pray I can be the same for my children.

This Friday, join me to welcome another guest to My Thoughtful Spot. Glynnis Whitwer of Proverbs 31 Woman Ministries will be joining us with advice on how to help our children develop conversation skills. 

1 comment:

  1. I had to smile...Caleb sounds like my son...he could talk your ear off. =)

    So sweet how they are unique and precious!


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