Earlier this year I was doing a presentation on WWII, based on my book, “All my love, George” for a group of middle schoolers. It was a great group of kids—very attentive and full of questions and comments
At the end of the presentation I always invite the kids to come up to get a closer look at the original letters the book is based on and other WWII memorabilia that belonged to George. When twelve year-old Levi came up to the table he handed me a piece of paper and said, “I drew this for you while you were talking to us because I know this happened during WWII, too.”
I’d noticed Levi writing or doodling during most of the time I was there, but it didn’t bother me. He wasn’t being disruptive, so what was the harm? I just assumed this wasn’t his ‘thing’. But when I reached out to take the paper from him, it was obvious my assumptions were wrong. I was blown away by the drawing he handed me. It was a drawing of the flag raising at Iwo Jima. I’m not talking about a few scribbles and stick people. It is amazing!
From all appearances Levi had completely tuned me out, but he hadn’t. Just the opposite was true. He was listening as intently as anyone else in the room…maybe even more so than some.
As parents you need to be aware of the fact that like Levi, your children’s listening ability may not be dependent on constant eye-contact and what you consider to be their full attention. Children often have the ability to multi-task without compromising their comprehension
Judging a listener by his or her actions isn’t fair. And much of the time it’s not even justifiable. So before you accuse your child of not paying attention to you or of ignoring you, make sure you know what you are talking about. Instead of assuming, ask them to repeat what you’ve said or answer a question about what you’ve said. That way you’ll know for sure and who knows…you might even end up with an amazing drawing like I did.
PS: My book, “Love, Momma D” is now available in print and e-reader formats from any online or brick and mortar book seller. When you purchase a copy of the book, 20% goes to the MY PEOPLE FUND to help the people of Gatlinburg rebuild their lives.