My older daughter got in the car after soccer camp yesterday and announced, "I made some new friends." It took a minute for my brain to process those words. Those words might not seem unusual to some of you, but my older daughter is often painfully shy in large groups. She generally sits back and says little, rarely putting herself in a position where she becomes the center of attention.
I asked a few questions about her new friends and discovered that she had asked enough questions to know where they go to school and what soccer team they had played for last year. She also discovered that they were new to the team like her, and she revealed that she had been the person to initiate the conversation.
On the drive home, I savored the moment. We've been talking with her all summer about the fact that in order to make new friends, she has to be willing to offer up something of herself, she has to be willing to risk being the first person to talk. Yesterday's success was a confidence booster for her and a moment of parenting success to be savored.
So many of our parenting moments are ones of frustration and failure. Some days it seems like nothing I say or do is getting through to my girls. As they get older, they've perfected the art of letting me know they think I'm clueless about their worlds. But yesterday proved something to me -- our kids are listening when we speak, even if it seem they are not.
In all the conversations I've had with my older daughter about making friends, I've never gotten the impression that she is taking my advice seriously. I often get the standard, "Mom, I know" or a teenage eye roll. I never get "Mom, that's a good idea" or even, "I'll think about it."
But even when our kids are busy rolling their eyes or seemingly ignoring us, they are listening. What we say and do is making an impression, and sometimes, we get to see the fruits of all our labors in their actions. Even when we don't see any change, even when we find ourselves wondering why our kids don't listen, we have to keep in mind that our words may come back to them later when God has softened their hearts and they are ready to make a change.
No matter how much it seems your kids aren't listening, no matter how often it seems your words go in one ear and out the other, keep talking to your kids. Keep offering them Godly wisdom and advice. Keep pushing them to be the person God made them to be.
Because our kids are listening -- even when they are rolling their eyes.