And my mom knows how to listen.
Growing up as 1 of 4 kids, it sometimes felt like everyone was vying for mom’s time and attention. My mom helped us with daily homework and drove us to practices; she cooked dinner and came to our school plays and watched our games and stayed up late sewing those god-awful Halloween costumes. And for as important as all those things are, I am convinced that it was her patience to listen to us that made all the difference.
I remember being a confused and awkward 13-years old, with tears streaming down my face and my mom just sat in the car with me and listened as I poured out all of my junior high emotions. I remember calling her from Taiwan, scared and overwhelmed, wanting more than anything to come home, and my mom graciously knew I just needed someone to listen. And I remember after I broke up with my first boyfriend, my mom drove up to Westmont just to take me out to dinner. I told her she didn’t have to come up, and that I was “ok.” But she wanted to…And it meant the world to me. She wanted just to be there with me and listen. Even as I get older some of my favorite memories with my mom are when we grab coffee and sit for hours in oversized chairs next to a small round table, sipping our lattes, talking and sharing about life-and it doesn’t matter what we’re talking about necessarily-faith and church, or work and my students, or dating and relationships- my mom listens to me.
There is something so beautiful about listening. It is this timeless gift that stretches across people groups and ages and cultures and religious. I believe everyone wants to be listened to. And when you sincerely listen to someone you learn how to love a little bit better. I get sad that sometimes in our noisy culture where our minds and hearts are saturated with sounds and distractions, I don’t always make the time and space to listen to others.
The art of listening involves being patience and attentive. By definition it involves caring about someone else and their thoughts and feelings more than yourself. I think it is one of the best gifts mothers can give their kids. I want to learn to be a better listener. And one day I hope to be a mom who will not focus on doing the hundreds of tasks that moms have to do and instead spend time listening to my kids like my mom did.
Mom, thank you for taking time to listen to me.
Happy Mother’s Day! I love you.