Friday, August 23, 2013

Poker Faced Parenting

        Don’t you just love a good story?  Some are experts at storytelling.  You stay on the edge of your seat from the beginning or you start with a giggle that builds to an avalanche of laughter.
         Our children love to tell stories too!  It starts with a line of intrigue or of an unsuspecting risk.  Sometimes their stories lack a point while others end with the proverbial “happily ever after.”   Invariably one of our “wee ones” will share a story simply for a reaction, namely, from us!
         It has become my custom to let the children talk.   In fact, I let them completely finish their stories, without my interruption or interjection.   Doing this allows them to remember what they were trying to communicate, but specifically it allows me to hear the entire story.
         Recently, a friend of one of my oldest was sharing an extraordinary purchase she had recently made. It was one of those ridiculous, frivolous expenses that we all make in our early “twenty somethings” and within a few years we ask, “Why didn’t someone try to stop me?” (When in truth, everyone had tried to stop the young adult, but they press ahead with their desire.)
         My first impulse was to gasp in horror over this ridiculous expense.  Rather I allowed her to finish the story.  The end of her story was that she realized how unnecessary the purchase was and returned the item.
         A friend observed my response.  She later said how impressed she was with it.  Saying she would have stopped our young friend mid way to tell her how “silly, foolish, ridiculous” this purchase was.  My friend said I had held a poker face.  The young friend would never have recognized my shock or disappointment with her decision.
         Moms, sometimes we need a poker face.  If we stop them before the story is finished (even with facial disapproval or rolling of eyes) their story may rectify itself.  Our interruptions may cause the child to feel discouraged or that they have disappointed us.  Equally as bad is it may cause our children to shut down.  Our children may stop talking, stop being honest, stop asking questions, stop coming to us for direction.
        While some may seem to have an excellence for storytelling, having a poker face might be the upper advantage! 
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         Proverbs 18: 13  “He who answers before listening – that is his folly and his shame.”


1 comment:

  1. Wow! Great advice, Joannie! I think you wrote this blog just for me. I interrupt my kids' stories far too often. This momma needs to be quick to listen and slow to speak. :) Thank you for sharing!