I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, but I did grow up in an average American home in the 80’s and 90’s. Christianity was still woven into the everyday and wasn’t offensive in public. Christmas I knew was about Jesus but to me it didn’t extend beyond the cute little nativity set my mom painted and sold at craft fairs. Easter I knew was also about Jesus and his death but I didn’t understand that and I knew nothing about the resurrection. Most of what I learned about God came from the Andy Griffith Show (which came on CBS after my mom’s soap operas) and from the evangelical neighbors next door and their daughters who were determined to tell me about God.
Each day I’d head outside in the backyard to play. The neighbors would also play in their backyard everyday. They had a “real” playset straight out of a catalogue; needless to say I desperately wanted to play on their playset. I was terribly nosey and watched through a knot hole in the fence as they put the set together, each screw made me more envious. When the set was done at last the new neighbors emerged to play. I watched with curiosity; sure these girls must be rich and spoiled to have such an amazing thing in their backyard.
It took a few days of watching them for me to realize they seemed pretty normal. One girl was my age and the other was only a year and a half younger. They seemed like best friends, a strange concept for me since my own sister was so much older than me and was currently in middle school and wanted nothing to do with me. At last, on a whim, I climbed to the top of the fence peaked my head over and said hi. That was the beginning of a very fruitful friendship. Each day they’d play outside on their playset and I’d climb the fence, poke my head over and chat with them.
In this type of listening, we are using our hearing more than our listening. We are paying attention only to part of what is being communicated looking for the "gotcha" or "I told you so" moment in which we can dominate or win the conversation. I'd like to think it is obvious that this is not helpful in the least and is damaging to relationships.
Avoid the "weeds." When we listen to Win, we often lock in on trivial details and ignore the more significant issues. If you find yourself pecking at minor details, you can rest assured you have stopped listening or are only listening to Win.
In our podcast today I had a chance to sit down and speak with Kendria Johnson. Kendria is a teacher, author, and speaker. Her story is truly motivational and I really enjoyed getting a chance to hear more from her. Her honesty and candid way of speaking to her daughter is truly inspirational.
Sometimes it is very hard, to be honest with our children about the situations we are living in and the circumstances we are facing. I really have to respect Kendria’s approach to talking with her daughter about some of the tough things they faced as her daughter was growing up.
I think we forget sometimes that our kids are going on our journey WITH us. A part of our story becomes a part of their story as well. One of the things Kendria said to her daughter during a particularly difficult time was this; “I told her what we were doing while we were going through this and that she was going to go through it with me.”
Remember our stories have a way of defining us, and I think this beautiful and honest statement from Kendria to her daughter takes the sting out of a circumstance that could potentially be a defining one. Honesty and conversations in the tough moments of life are how we help shape our children and how we help them process through what is going on around them. We are helping them to form their self-definitions. As you’ll hear from Kendria, I don’t think this circumstance defined her daughter, but rather became just a part of her story.
For everyone who enjoys this episode and is interested in reading more about Kendria’s story her book is available as both a digital download and a physical copy, and you can order yours by clicking the links below.
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