I read this quote in a monthly e-newsletter I've been receiving for years called A Heart For Home. If you've been reading this blog, you've heard me mention it because it inspires me quite often. It's free so if you want to subscribe, simply send a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie wrote this, which struck me:
I have been diligent to set some time aside each day to “hang out” with at least
one of my sons. I get busy doing this-and-that and neglect
relationship-building. This “hang out” time isn’t anything formal or specific. I
just join them in whatever they’re doing and spend some time in conversation
with my total attention given to them. This week I heard about an insight Ben
learned from the account of Moses & the Red Sea, the intricacies of goat
breeding from Caleb, and all about a new story Eli is creating after being
inspired by a biography on C. S. Lewis. More importantly though, I’m learning
about my children’s hearts.
When I read this, I knew that I needed to also be diligent about setting aside time-- maybe not each day-- but at least once a week, to just go quietly find an individual child and hang out with him or her. No planned activity, no trip to the mall or the movies, no coffee at Starbucks. What Julie is talking about is simpler than that. It's just laying across their bed, or asking them to stay in the kitchen while you work, or sitting beside them on the couch. And then talking, asking questions, hearing their hearts.
The word that she used-- diligent-- is what struck me most. It's not like I don't know I need to hear from my kids. It's not like I don't want to. It's just that in the flurry of motion that is our household, the days whiz by quite often and I haven't taken the time to listen, to talk, to clue in to what's going on in their hearts. I might see what's going on in their lives, but their hearts stay hidden from sight.
Hang out time. I am going to be diligent about finding it.