Helping Children Listen

What's Up?  This riveting question is sure to have you on the edge of your seat as you discover the story behind the "Tree House" image.

Many of us have known someone who is an independent thinker, sometimes perceived as stubborn. In the attempt to persuade a set mind, even some of the best debaters have lost their cases. The good news about stubborn types is that if the mindset is focused on a good desire, nothing can dissuade or distract. If not, then the art of persuasion may take divine intervention to guide thinking. Such was the case with my young son.

Frustration mounted between us when our differing views on the same matter let to an impasse. Try as I may, no amount of convincing could exact a change of heart on either side. We each returned to our corners of the ring to try to figure out how to choreograph the knock-out punch. He climbed up to the tree house and collapsed on the floor in a slumped stupor. I retired to my room and fell to my knees. "Dear Heavenly Father, please inspire me to say the right things to this beloved son of ours that I treasure and adore. His soul is precious to both of us so please be my partner in winning over his heart." I begged God to put the words in my mouth that would promote peace and not enlarge anger. Leaning on the bed, I pushed myself off of my knees and onto my feet. I followed the instincts that led me to the tree house in the back yard. I lumbered up the stairs and ducked my head as I entered the small, elevated house that contained walls laden with books that offered no solution to our concerns.

My son sat on the floor, hunched over his crossed legs. I mirrored his position and sat silently waiting for the voice of God to come into my mind. His body-language spoke volumes about his heart- rending feelings of rejection. Struggling to find the right words to comfort and convince, I took a deep breath and began to speak. No sound came out. A second attempt made it clear that my voice had been taken from me. Left in its place, was a soft whisper. It grabbed the attention of the chips on the shoulders and my son's head lifted and our eyes met. He didn't ask what was wrong.

Proceeding in whispers he responded in like manner and a sweet spirit permeated that tiny house on high. Our whispered conversation continued to soften our hearts. Perhaps it's harder to stay mad when you whisper and easier to escalate anger when you shout. The problem was resolved peacefully. It's difficult to send whisper texts and read body language in cyberspace. I'll always remember the whispers in the tree house on Brightly Street. "A soft answer turneth away wrath."  (Proverbs 15:1)

Here's a free printable to print, laminate and add a magnet to the back.  Put it on your fridge or other places that will remind you to use a "soft" voice.

Brightly Street Proverbs 15 Quote Printable