Two ways to improve your child’s classroom experience this year

“Did you not hear me?” 

I probably say that phrase ten times a day. Can anybody relate?

For as often as it’s said, it really is one of the most unhelpful ‘mom-phrases’ in the history of motherhood. I know, because my kids are hearing me just fine (and so are the neighbors, probably).

Having just had their hearing checked at their four-year well visit, I know my kids are hearing me. They just aren’t listening to me.

That’s because listening is a learned skill. And one of my jobs as mom is to teach my children how to communicate.

How do I do that? By showing them how to speak and react to others. Often, I teach all this unintentionally – by getting impatient and interrupting them, not making eye contact, raising my voice, etc.

But with the school year coming up, I decided to get a little more proactive about teaching the boys the proper way to communicate with each other and their teacher.

So, this week the boys and I both worked on James 1:19: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” 

I need this lesson in biblical communication as much as my children do! Because if I’m being honest, I’m much faster at barking out orders than listening to their concerns and ideas.

After talking about James 1:19 and doing some crafts to illustrate this truth, we took turns asking each other questions like “what is your favorite animal and why” or “what is your favorite color and why” and then practiced listening to each other’s responses. (If the boys could repeat to me their brother’s response, then I knew they’d listened!)

In her book, The Mom You’re Meant to Be, Cherie Fuller gives a good reminder about the role listening and communication plays in a child’s learning and achievement.

“Research shows that students who do well on mental tests and schoolwork tend to come from homes where there is lots of open communication. When children and parents are talking and listening to each other, when kids feel safe to share ideas and feelings, intellectual growth is stimulated, and those children grow to be more curious, motivated, and enthusiastic about learning.

I want my kids to be able to live up to their abilities both in and out of the classroom. I want them to be enthusiastic about learning.

And a lot of that depends on me! If I want my kids to listen to their teacher, communicate with their peers, and successfully grapple with ideas and words – then it is my honor to be able to instill the general principles Scripture lays out for communicating in a biblical way.

And while Scripture isn’t setting up test score standards, it is revealing a basic truth about the way God constructed us. There is a direct connection between our ears, mouth, and the heart. Like James 1:19 tells us, if we are slow to speak and quick to listen, then we can usually avoid unrighteous anger.

So, how can I help my child do better in school? Be quick to listen and slow to speak! Because that means I’ve slowed down my mouth long enough to let God work in my heart.

Do you have trouble choosing anger over listening to your kids? Share some ideas that have helped you!

About melissa deming

Melissa Deming is a freelance writer transplanted from Texas to Pennsylvania with her husband of ten years, Jonathan, and two-year-old identical twins, Zacharias and Jonah. The family serves at a Southern Baptist church plant in Pittsburgh - Living Faith Community Church. Melissa is a regular correspondent for The Southern Baptist TEXAN newspaper and Crossroads magazine of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. She is also the creator and author of HiveResources.com - a site designed to sweeten a woman's walk with Christ through devotional articles, book reviews, and giveaways. Melissa holds a Masters of Divinity in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC, and a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M University.