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Kids Do Listen

I was talking with my son earlier and I guess I wasn't in the best of moods because I heard him say, "I'll never forget you telling me, 'Nothing is permanent.’"

It woke me up out of my funk and I realized something that blew my mind: My sons DO listen to me.

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Think about all of those times it feels like we’re talking to ourselves, offering up wisdom on a platter to teens who would rather watch videos on Instagram. Think about those times we look into the eyes of little people we brought into this world and share our own personal stories of disappointment, hoping that they won’t make the same mistakes that we did. Sometimes we may fall silent, wondering if we are getting through, but even when they don’t openly acknowledge our efforts, it seems that they actually do listen and take heed.

I know that my sons have a learning curve ahead of them, but I have equipped them with wisdom that would make it a lot less steep.

After the initial shock wore off, I asked my 14-year-old what other things I have told him that helps him in his life and he had a list. The things he said back to me reminded me of those epiphanies that took me 30 plus years to figure out for myself. They comforted me. They reminded me of how much I have grown and allowed me to marvel at the fact that I know that my sons have a learning curve ahead of them, but I have equipped them with wisdom that would make it a lot less steep.

1. Nothing is permanent

Whenever my son receives a less than stellar grade on an assignment, he has to miss out on hanging out with his friends or his phone is taken away as a punishment. He says he becomes annoyed but doesn’t get upset because he knows that nothing is permanent and he’ll get another chance.

2. Never give up

My younger son loves playing games on his phone. He is really passionate about it, to the point where if we are talking on the phone, I can tell by the way he responds to questions that he is only half listening. When he was younger he used to become extremely irritated, jumping up and down in anticipation during video game play and even crying over losses whether he was the one actually playing or not. I didn’t understand this behavior at all; but he explained that he wanted to win.

Now that he’s older he doesn’t do that anymore and he says it’s because he knows he will always have more time to play, and when he doesn’t give up, he always gets to the next level.

3. Accept people for who they are

We had a rather humorous conversation about my son’s father, who like most dads has a litany of phrases he uses when communicating his frustration. This conversation was a result of my constant reminder to my sons when they complain about their dad because they think he’s being unreasonable:

(Shrug) That’s your Daddy.

Their grandma speaks loudly at all times, their sister won’t relinquish the remote control without a tussle, and their Dad has this "thing" about the laundry being done by Friday night. Whether my sons agree with any of their actions or not, they now accept these personality traits because I have reminded them that people are always going to be who they are and they can’t force anyone to be who they want them to be.

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4. Think about what you want instead of what you don’t want

My older son used to have this negative outlook on life. I’ll admit, I have it too so he probably got it from me. As I noticed that my worst traits were rubbing off on him, I tried to change my outlook so I could influence him, and it worked. I told him that there is a rule in life that we get what we expect because we tend to act according to our expectations.

After much repetition, and to a certain degree of brainwashing, I have gotten my sons to expect that their lives are going to be great and they should always focus on what they want to happen instead of what they don’t want.

“Everything always works out for me,” I shared with my 14-year-old at the end of this very important conversation.

“It sure does,” he reminded me. I am so lucky to have him as my mirror.

Image via Twenty20/vercoolfres

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