Dear Parents,

Do you remember Charlie Brown’s teacher or grandmother or whatever adult happened to be on the other end of that telephone line with him? The only conversation we ever heard Charlie Brown have with them was punctuated with “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah…” as the adults response to him. Do you feel that it is also all your teenager hears when you speak? Wah, wah, wah!

Let me ask you a question you may have never considered. Do our teenagers think that is all we hear when they try to talk to us? Hmmm. Hadn’t thought of that? Couldn’t possibly be! Here is a great test to see if that is true. After your teen talks, do you start your part with the phrase, “Yes, but….”? If so, that means you probably haven’t listened. You have spent the time that they were talking formulating a response, or an answer, or even a brilliant idea that they just have to hear since it is coming from parental wisdom!

I think you probably have many of the answers to so many of your teens questions and problems. You have experience and age on your side! But sometimes the best lessons your teen will ever learn, and the lessons that stick the hardest are the ones that they learn themselves. Without the correct answer, but with the listening ear of their biggest fan. You!

Often we beg God to make our teen just listen. How about we, as parents, first ask Him to give us an ear, not just to hear, but to listen!

The next part of this week’s online parenting class is a short video that furthers the conversation.  I’d love to hear what you think of it:

Please take a moment to watch this:

I don’t know why it rocks my socks when scripture just, straight up, says how we are to parent very specifically.  This week’s video speaks of the verse in Proverbs that says, “The one who gives an answer before he listens – this is foolishness and disgrace for him!” See what I mean?

We are talking about really listening!

Listen when your teen yells!

Listen when they laugh!

Listen when they say things that seem to have no importance whatsoever!

Listen when they are silent. Sometimes you will hear the most at these times!

Our teens are tired of being lumped all together as individuals who are all rebellious, and smart alecks, and hard to get along with. They are mostly tired of being treated like children.

Is that why we have such a hard time listening to our teenager? Do we still see that first grader who needed us, or the third grader who didn’t want to go on the field trip without us, or that fifth grader who still wanted us to tuck them in and pray with them at night?

You have done a great job of training up your teenager in the ways of God. You are not quite done, though. This step is just as important as all the others. By listening to them, you are teaching them how to listen to Him. Trust that God has allowed you to plant many truths deep inside that precious teen. The only way to know is to truly listen even if that means you give no answer!

Tweetable Thoughts

  • To listen is to concentrate on. Don’t dilute it with sighs or rolling of the eyes!#teenlanguage
  • You have two ears and one mouth. You should listen twice as much as you speak! #grandmasayings
  • The one who gives an answer before he listens – this is foolishness and disgrace for him. Proverbs 18:13
  • Choose today to just listen. Maybe tomorrow it will be easier! #goodchoices
  • Ask your teenager for ways to listen. You might be surprised at their answer!
  • Listening is an art that needs to be practiced!
  • How do you define a good listener? Make a list and then see how you rank!
  • It takes a great man to be a good listener! Calvin Coolidge
  • The word “listen” contains the same letters as the word “silent”! #shhhhh
  • Being heard is so closed to being loved,…that they are almost indistinguishable! Augsburger

Feel free to forward this email to other parents of teenagers and have them email me if they would like to join our online parenting class.

Tim Hamm – Threshold Jr (Grade 6-8) –
Mathew Povey – High School Ministry (Grade 9-12) –