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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

Things I Learned... Part II

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22

  • Humor – What would we do without laughter in our family? Hearing a child enjoy a good laugh continues to be a delight. We have a one level house so each conversation is within earshot. When they were growing up, I would try to take a nap on Sunday afternoon before getting us ready for the week. I could hear them in the living room playing and laughing with each other. It was a joyful sound to fall asleep to. Now that they are adults, I still enjoy hearing them talk and laugh with each other. Each son’s distinctive laugh and their willingness to inject humor into situations is a lot of fun to watch. You can see from the photo that my oldest enjoys injecting humor no matter where we are. He is enjoying "Boogie Wonderland" playing in the botanical gardens. We were enjoying him, enjoying the music. Practice Laughing.

  • Hear what they have to say. With sons, you have to seize the opportunity to talk. If they starte a conversation, stop everything you are doing, put the TV on mute, stop cooking, don’t answer your phone. Young men don’t often have moments when they want to have heart to heart discussions so you have to make the environment welcoming or else the moment will pass and you won’t know what is on their mind. One of my sons came to me as a college student and asked me “Mom, were you a virgin when you got married?” I like to fall out of my chair. The other thing to know is that you can’t have this shocked, “oh my goodness” expression on your face. That will scare them away too. No matter what screaming and passing out you are doing on the inside, your face has to say, I am calm, cool and collected. Once you hear them out and pass on your sage advice, you can have your breakdown, but not in-front of them. When they were little, I found out the most fascinating things when I was giving them their baths. I guess there was something about being free from clothing that freed their mind. Learn to listen. They will share if you make space for them. Practice Listening.

Have you learned thiings from your children? There will always be time to do the laundry, clean the house or pay the bills. Focus on the kairos moments with your children. A kairos moment is an event that won't be repeated. A birth, scoring their first goal, needing your attention for no particular reason. Seize these moments, be present and it will let your child know you are on their side.

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