Listening the First Time

Getting the children ready in the mornings can be an ordeal.  More than once I find myself repeatedly telling Kieran to get his clothes on and reminding him that I expect him to listen the first time.  Whenever I say that, though, it strikes me that it is rare for me to listen the first time.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still think listening the first time is a laudable goal, though I do try to impress upon the children that they are free to question why I’m saying what I am.  I do not want blind obedience, really, though I do want them to listen.

However, I also know that I do not listen the first time.  If someone asks me to do something, I don’t always drop everything and do it right then.  Sometimes doing so isn’t possible, other times I simply don’t wish to do it right then.  Even worse is if my children ask something of me and I could comply at that moment, and don’t.  How can I teach my children to listen, truly listen, and act in a timely manner if I do not do that?

So, should I just abandon the ideal since I’m not following it?  Hardly.  Instead, I should pray for the grace I need to follow the ideal myself to the best of my ability, thus setting an example for them that they can follow.  I know they won’t get it right away, and that’s fine.  It is something that takes a lifetime to truly learn, I think, for selflessness does not come easily.  And really, isn’t that what it is?  Learning to set aside ourselves for what another is asking?  I’ve a long way to go, I know that much.

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