Voices yelling. Arms flailing. Nobody listening.
I stepped between my two children, shattering their noise with silence. They stared in interrupted confusion and waited for me to say something.
When their impatience peaked, I finally spoke — but not as they expected. I didn’t yell, argue, or demand.
They were close enough to feel my breath but had to lean in to hear my words. Honestly, I don’t remember what I said. I doubt it was profound, but it was effective. The greatest impact wasn’t from the words but the silence that caused them to listen.
James 1:19 says:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. (NIV)”
I love how God’s first instruction is to listen — quickly. There is a sense of urgency and focus.
God knows the destructive power of uncontrolled words and emotions. He wants to teach us, and for us to teach our kids, that the fastest and best way to peace is through an attentive ear. Sometimes that requires absolute silence from the words filling our hearts and spilling out from our mouths. This is another post I wrote about the powerful ways in which God uses silence to help us listen more attentively to Him.
When we’ve listened well we’re more likely to respond well. It’s even better if the first one we listen to is God.
As my children leaned in to listen that day, the silence helped them hear a valuable truth:
The peaceful resolution that followed was music to my ears, and to God’s.
*For more great parenting resources, I highly recommend visiting this Focus on the Family site.