The four boy tuck-in routine can be exhausting. Our two-year old has turned out to be the most challenging of any of our boys at bedtime, seeming to come to life just about the time we are ready to collapse and enjoy a few minutes of quiet. If, and when we finally get him down, there are still three more boys to read to (on a good night,) say prayers with, and get into their bed. By the time I get to my thirteen year old, it is usually an abbreviated tuck-in. He doesn’t need much. He reads to himself. One hug and kiss is plenty. He is easy.
So that one night not too long ago, when I said goodnight and I love you and was just about to hurry out to tackle the next thing on my nightly to-do list, I’m not sure what made me PAUSE.
But I did.
And I just sat there and was quiet for maybe ten seconds. I looked right at my son, with a relaxed expression. I expected nothing, but instead just enjoyed his presence for those few seconds.
And that young teenager actually had something to say.
It wasn’t a shocking confession, or any super sensitive issue. He simply shared something that he was frustrated with personally–a goal he hadn’t reached in a certain sport. Being a first-born perfectionist type, this kid is really hard on himself. He works things out quietly, and doesn’t need to talk about little issues. I suppose I have seen this as not only a great quality, but one that simplifies my parenting requirements. And maybe one I’ve taken for granted…
On that particular day, I don’t think he needed me to share wise counsel or really to say anything at all.
He simply decided to let me in on things.
And that moment pierced my heart a little bit.
It made me ask WHAT have I been missing. These little moments…they are treasures. A peek into the heart of my child. A chance to know what he ponders. What bothers him. How I might pray for him.
Yet I am so busy, with the daily tasks and the managing of the family and the disciplining of the younger ones…that I am afraid I have rushed past the one that might just need a listening ear the most.
Obviously we are all human. We can only do so much in a day. If we are blessed to have one (or more!) independent kids who are self directed and don’t require a whole lot of special attention, it is a gift from God.
However, the brief moment with my son that night, followed by a few more purposeful PAUSES since then, have taught me that I don’t want to MISS them any more.
I don’t want to miss his heart.
His funny observations or his creative ideas.
So, I’m learning to PAUSE. When I greet him in the morning, I remind myself to pause. To look into his eyes as I ask “How did you sleep honey?” And mean it. When he gets home after surfing, or a youth group event, to actually STOP what I’m doing and ask “How did it go?” And yes, at bedtime…I am trying to cut DOWN a little on the time I spend battling my two-year old, and giving a little more time to the teenager. The eleven year old can use a little more of my quiet readiness as well. And the eight-year old…Oh a listening ear means the WORLD to that one. He is surrounded by noise on all sides.
A pause can come in the form of a question. It can happen in the car when I turn my music low, and my blue-tooth OFF. It can happen while we eat breakfast, or sit at the beach. A pause may deliver pure silence, and sometimes it brings NO conversation. Even then it opens the door for communication when your boy is ready.
A pause says “You are worth my time.”
“You are valuable.”
“I am interested in you.”
“No one else matters more right now.”
“I’m not just here to speak AT you.”
Sometimes a pause is the best “I love you” that I could give.
Have you paused enough recently to hear what might otherwise be missed?
I’d love to hear about your experiences, or any suggestions you might have on giving those boys the time, and attention they truly need…While juggling everything else in life!
Share in comments, would you?
Monica, her husband, and their four sons live on the North Shore of Oahu, on a hill overlooking the “seven-mile miracle”–Seven miles of the most famous surf break beaches in the world. Her family spends a lot of time at the beach, with two of her sons being competitive surfers. Monica home schools her boys, and when they aren’t at the beach, they love to play at their country home, where they grow all kinds of tropical fruits. Monica’s background is in health and fitness, but for now she just tries to keep her boys healthy and safe. She loves God and shares all of her family’s blessings and adventures at: www.thegrommom.com (A grom is a kid who surfs/does board sports.)