Friday, December 3, 2010

Teaching Children to Listen

I have eight children and I am always working on training them~it truly seems like it is a never ending process! We have our good days and then our not-so good days-- the mountains and the valleys! :) That is why I love good teaching on training--like this gem from Above Rubies that I received in my inbox today to remind me of the importance of being diligent in that area and not to grow weary:


Part 1

"The ear that hears the reproof of life abides among the wise. He that refuses instruction despises his own soul: but he that hears reproof gets understanding"
(Proverbs 15:31-32).

What is the first thing we should teach our children? When I ask women this question at seminars they give me lots of very good answers, but usually not the one I am looking for. What is my answer? I believe that the first thing we teach our children is how to listen.

If children do not learn how to hear, they will not learn to obey. If they do not learn to listen, they will not learn to hear the voice of God speaking to them. If they do not learn the art of listening, they will not learn to acquire knowledge. If they do not learn how to hear, they will not come to faith, because "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). How you train your children to hear will determine their relationship with God!

It is possible to hear but not really hear. That's why Jesus constantly said, "He that has ears to hear, let him hear." We have to learn to listen with our ears but this takes training. All parents are ear trainers. By the way we parent; we train our children to have obedient ears-or, disobedient ears, lazy ears, dull ears, defiant ears, resistant ears, gullible ears or even forgetful ears. What kind of ears are you training your children to have? When you ask them to do something but they take no notice of you, you are training them to have defiant ears. When you ask them to do something but they delay doing it, they have dull ears. When you ask them to do something, but they don't bother doing it until you have asked for the sixth time and by now you are shouting, you are telling them that they do not have to obey until the sixth time! You are producing lazy ears. What will God have to do to get their attention?
What kind of ears does God want our children to have?


When God told Solomon that he could ask God for anything he liked, Solomon responded by asking for "an understanding heart" (1 Kings 3: 9). The margin in my Bible gives "hearing" for "understanding." The Hebrew word is shama and means, "to hear with attention and obedience, to give undivided listening attention." This is what Solomon wanted more than anything else, more than riches and fame-a hearing heart. May God give us wisdom to teach our children how to have hearing hearts.
The word shama is synonymous with obedience. Proverbs 25:12 says, "As an ear ring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to an obedient (shama) ear."
Proverbs 1:5 says, "A wise man will hear, and will increase learning." There is no way we can teach our children to be wise without teaching them to hear with undivided attention.


When King Saul disobeyed the word of the Lord, the prophet Samuel came to him and said, "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken (qashav) than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." (1 Samuel 15:22-23).
The word qashav describes acute hearing. It means "to prick up the ears, sharpening them like an alert animal." Children with qashav ears will be ready for God to use as soldiers in His army.


James 1:19 says, "Let every man be swift (tachus) to hear." This Greek word means, "prompt or ready." Most Bibles translate it as "quick to hear." It describes instant obedience. True hearing results in immediate action. I used to say to my children, "Delayed obedience is disobedience."
How do we teach our children this kind of hearing? As soon as they can understand a command, we teach them to obey that command. But before they can obey, we must make sure that they have heard us. Sometimes, you may have to get your little child to repeat your command to make sure they have heard you. Don't yell commands from another room. Always give commands eye to eye and face to face so that you know your children have heard what you ask them to do. When you know that they have heard, teach them how to obey straight away. Don't accept anything less. This takes time and effort, but remember, mother, you are an ear trainer! This is one of your most important tasks as a parent!

May God help us to be parents who train prompt and obedient hearers.


"Oh God, please forgive me for not diligently training the ears of my children. Please help me to train children who have obedient ears.  Amen."

I am a diligent ear trainer!

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Jen ( said...

I like this! Without the listening there is no learning and learning is very important to me in regards to teaching my children something. Very neat insight. Thank you for sharing.

Sherry @ Lamp Unto My Feet said...

So needed this! Need my children to listen more diligently... said...

Thank you for this post...I have to say after 27 years of mothering I have let this slip some and now I am going to repent and start back up with my four year old and fourteen year old to develop their ears and my own.

Lisa said...

Hi - this is the first post I'm reading of yours (a friend linked on facebook), so I don't know your approach to "training" - that word can have all kind of connotations in the Christian world. Without any "how" my concern is that some women can take what you are saying as further "permission" and "admonition" to "train" in a way akin to the Pearls and Ezzo, etc. which I believe is not God's model for guiding us into his wisdom and understanding.

Thought I'd share a couple of things that I think you might be saying. "Helping our children to comply" (I don't remember where I read this quote...another blog forwarded by another friend?) by keeping a "tight action point" is one way to make sure the words you use retain their power.

For example, 2yo is standing on the couch and you say "sit on the couch, please" to which the 2yo does nothing. You simple go over and place the child on the ground and say "standing is for the floor - couches are for sitting".

It's helpful to me to have some handles put on a great insight.

Serene in Singapore said...

Amen! :)

Amy said...

So glad to find your wonderful site.

I so needed this lesson. Thank you, Thank you!!

I am now following your blog.

Have a blessed day!

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Such a great reminder!

Cookie said...

Thank you for sharing this Mrs. June! I pray that God will teach ME and my children to really listen. I need this reminder. Again, thank you and be blessed always!

teekaroo said...

I needed this today. One of my biggest struggles with my children is the listening thing. I feel like I repeat myself all day.

Mrs. Stam said...

thank you for the wonderful advices and teaching!

JenT said...

Great post! I really needed that. I feel like most of the time my children don't listen. They use the excuse for not doing something, "I didn't hear you" or "I forgot". I get Above Rubies too. Such a great magazine.

Elizabeth said...

What a great post. I will be sharing this post with all the parents I know. Such a wonderful remind for what are we to do doing for our childern.

Kay said...

Thank you! This is very encouraging.

Mrs. Jones said...

I really enjoyed this. Thanks so much..

Anonymous said...

Great post! I never thought of listening in those terms. I look foward to trying them at home. As a mom who works out of the home, my children attend public school so that already poses some challenges at home for us. I would really like to learn more examples of what to do when they are disobedience. Unfortunately, I find a start to shout after a while, and that really gets us no where but crying...that includes me. Thanks for always posting such helpful material.

Turkana W said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
June Fuentes @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home said...

Dear Turkana W,

You are more than welcomed to add this to your blog, but be sure to list Nancy Campbell as the author as I have listed on the bottom, and not me! :)

Many blessings...


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