“What did you just say to me?!” – Hear What They Mean, Not What You Think

My dad used to tell me, “You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion.”  I would always roll my eyes and get irritated when he pulled out that little gem, usually because he’d slap it on me when I was mid-sentence (and probably not doing a very good job listening).  It was a gem, though, and as much as it pains me to tell him “FINE, YOU WERE RIGHT,” he was totally right.

Listening is VITAL.

And not just “hearing.”  Hearing is a passive thing.  LISTENING is something else entirely.

The third aspect of Active Listening is understanding what the speaker is saying, both what they are actually saying and what they are meaning to say (because those two things are often different).

For example.  [You had to see this coming.  The best way to learn is to hear a story about how someone else screwed it up, and as luck would have it I am a FIELD EXPERT in “screw up.”  So here ya go.]

I really, really don’t like the word “comfortable.”
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Depth and Parenting – Guiding Children through Childish Mistakes

This morning as I was herding kids out the door to catch the bus, the eight year old burst into tears.


I turned my head to look, and she held out toward me her homework folder. The one that comes home Monday, and is turned in FIRST THING Tuesday morning. The one that was full of not-even-started, not-finished homework. The one I asked about last night, “did you get your homework done,” and was told “yes, I read my book on the bus.”

Her BOOK was done, her worksheets were not. She just plain forgot.

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How to Be a Mother – Raising Kids the Right Way

In the last few years I’ve done a lot of thinking about being a mother.  It’s probably what I think about MOST, actually, since having kids.  My thoughts fluctuate equally between “Am I doing a good job,” “How much am I going to screw them up by doing-not-doing this-or-that,” and “where’s the instruction manual because REALLY I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL I AM DOING.”

Being a mom is…   well, it’s rough.  And wonderful, and amazing.  And brutal.  And rewarding and miserable and fulfilling and draining and pure bliss.  It’s the only thing I’ve experienced in life that can leave me feeling as full as a hot air balloon, weightless with love, and AT THE SAME TIME as twisted and wrung out as an old, holey and shredded dishtowel.  From the second you conceive until FOREVER your life is no longer your own.  It becomes something totally different.  Something MORE.  Every day your guts feel like they gorged on a party snack mix of puberty mood swing hormones and Sominex and double-frosted kid’s birthday cake seasoned with a hearty dash of crazy and sprinkled with very loud noises.

The best way I can describe it is to imagine that you have a cute, fuzzy, warm, cuddly monkey sitting on your shoulder, playing with your ear, whispering to you and loving you.  On your back.  All the time.
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