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A dear friend asked a question to a number of godly women I know and I thought it would be a great question to discuss here.

How can we be intentional in conversations with our children?

Are we too busy to have conversations with our children?

In our very busy culture today, where we moms are often “wired” to our cell phones or tablets or whatever, it is very easy to miss those opportunities to converse with our children.

  • Do we find ourselves saying, “In a minute,” when they are trying to tell us something fun they thought about and never getting back to them?
  • Do we find ourselves saying, “Yes, uh huh, okay,” because we are not listening to them, thinking their talking is prattling? (alright, very often it is)
  • Do we think all the other activities in our lives are important, but really engaging in conversation with them is not?

The book that had one of the biggest impacts on my life when my children were little was not what you’d expect it to be. It wasn’t a How To Raise Your Children book, or a 56 Ways to be a Great Mother kind of book. It was The Giving Tree. I wanted to be like the Giving Tree and not like the boy. I wanted my children to know that I was ALWAYS there for them;

not just in the hard times
not just in the times of stress
not just in the big times
not just in the times when they did something great
not just in the discipline times

I wanted my children to know I was really connecting with them on the mundane times, the silly times, the times when they were spending 20 minutes describing their Lego battle or telling me a story they made up where most of the plot consisted of the 84 names of the hero’s friends!

Being intentional to have conversations with our children

Did I do a great job? I wish! But THAT was my intentional time.

With 8 children it wasn’t always easy to find alone time with each one. At bedtime, there were always numerous children in a room (sometimes in a bed) so that didn’t work out for us, as it does for many other moms. So I worked hard to let THEIR intentional times with me become a reality. I tried hard not to blow them off when I was busy. Even now, when I hear, “Hey Mom, can I show you a card trick?” I stop what I’m doing and pay attention.

When they would come into the kitchen (or laundry room, those seem to be the places where I spent most of my years as a mom) and chatter away with their latest thought or question, I tried to let them know that I was interested and listening. I wanted them to know that I was involved and engaged in THEIR conversation rather than trying to get them involved in mine.

Yes, I think we CAN pursue dialogue with our children by asking good questions that really try to open them up. But I think that FIRST we need to make sure that we seize every opportunity THEY offer us to build that openness.

The more we engage with our children in their conversation, the easier it will be to draw them into ours as they grow older. <–tweet this

Our children really love (and I never know why) to hang out with us and talk. Silly talk, serious talk, scriptural talk, personal talk. It’s all interesting to them. The time to build to this point is NOW. I spent 26 years listening to THEIR childish talk (and even though most of my children are introverts, they are almost all talkers!). But those years taught me to KNOW my children; what was important, interesting, fun, fearful to them.

How are  YOU being intentional to build opportunities for conversation with your children, so that you can REALLY KNOW THEM?

(image courtesy of ambro/

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