Why is that we have two ears and one mouth?
Quite an interesting phenomena, isn't it? Definitely something to ponder.
I'm sure there is some really good scientific reason for it, but I can only tell you what I was told when I was growing up:
God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we could listen twice as much as we speak.
I have come to realize over time that is really good advice. But I have to admit, I didn't want to believe it or even listen to it while I was growing up. I can tell you for sure that many times I did not, to my own detriment. But everything always seemed to work out in the end.
It's funny how that happens, isn't it?
Like most kids, I thought I knew quite a bit about everything. I also believed that I should enjoy the privilege of letting everyone know what a genius I was whenever I felt I had something brilliant to say, which was quite often. Where I was and who I was with, or who I was around, really did not mean much to me, at least when I was very young.
I just thought I knew everything about anything. Don't we all at that age?
How wrong I was!
I guess, with age comes a different kind of wisdom.
As a child we have opinions and thoughts on pretty much everything that is going on around us. What we usually don't always have is the right opportunity or forum to express those opinions, or the judgment to look for that forum before we speak. But that doesn't usually stop us from saying things when we think them, wherever we happen to think it, no matter how embarrassing it may be for us or for our parents.
And frankly, in my humble opinion, it shouldn't!
How many times have you seen a parent cringe when their child blurts out something that was supposed to be kept within the family? You know the scenario, you're at the store with your milk and cookies on the conveyor belt waiting to pay, only to have your beautiful child, the apple of your eye, tell the lady in the checkout line behind you that Daddy needs more of that cream for that rash he has. Ahhhhhhhhhh!
Don't worry, it happens to everyone. If it hasn't happened to you yet, it will. It's one of those things you are devastated by when it happens, but it makes a great story later on down the road.
Let them speak their minds.
Children should be encouraged to express themselves. They should not be stifled unnecessarily. They should be allowed to speak their minds, as long as they are being respectful while they do it. They should not be mean, hateful, arrogant or abusive.
There is so much wisdom that comes from them, and humor too. It would be a pity to miss out on it, wouldn't it?
And guess where they will be learning what is appropriate and what is respectful from? Any guesses? You got it: From you!
Everyday, in every way, you are setting examples and teaching your children by your actions more so than with your words.
As we get older we lose that innocence of our childhood. And it usually does not take long or take much for it to happen. It only takes having a parent yell at or quiet down a child a few times to get the child to start to keep their thoughts to themselves.
I guess that can be a good thing or a bad thing.
It can be good in that they are "well behaved" in public and they don't cause you any embarrassment when you are out and about. It can be good in that they are quiet and you don't always have to be on guard and ready to apologize for them or correct them all the time.
I guess that is pretty good, right?
But what is the trade off if you are overly sensitive about what kids say or if you happen to go to far to correct them?
One of the negative results is that you could end up stifling their creativity. They may just stop thinking of interesting and fun ideas because they are not being listened to by you, their parent, the most important adult figure in their lives. They may start to believe that what they are thinking just isn't that important simply because they think that you don't believe it is important, whether that is true or not.
Wouldn't that be a terrible thing!
Maybe they just start to become introverted and stop communicating about a lot of things, not just the embarrassing things. Maybe they have a thought or a fear or a need, but they start to over analyze it and screen it out before it finds the light of day.
As a judge I have to deal with some difficult situations. Many of them involve children and families not getting along. The really bad situations involving children getting in trouble can be the result of them not letting their feelings be known to those who care about them. The channels of communication become clogged, if not shut down completely.
And they suffer because of it.
They could find themselves in a situation where there is a lot of peer pressure on them to do something. They know it is not the right thing to do, like drugs or shoplifting or something to that effect. But at some point they were stifled in expressing themselves, so they may give in to the peer pressure and just go along to be accepted.
Even worse, they may have been stifled by you! When you told them to stop speaking, the unintentional result may be that they misinterpreted your signals to mean that you just really don't care about them, their feeling and their thoughts. They come to the conclusion, true or not, that they cannot talk to you about anything.
I bet you've heard that one before, right?
Kids need an outlet.
They need to be made to understand and believe that they are loved and what they think and feel is important.
They do need express themselves.
And as adults we do need to listen, whether we agree with them or not.
Keep those lines of communication open. It is our responsibility as adults and parents to listen to and empower our children.
So, how about that, we're right back to where we started . . .
Two ears, one mouth! Listen twice as much as you speak.
It applies to us as well as our kids. Maybe more so to us than to our kids.
That was good advice I got as a child after all!
Let me know what you think . . .
The Humble Judge!