0:00:03 – Speaker 1
Hey, this is Mandy and Kim with nextTalk, where we are passionate about keeping kids safe in the digital world.
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Did you know? we have tens of thousands of listeners in 60 countries. It’s truly amazing, crazy. only God And, as a non-profit, everything we do at nextTalk is supported by people just like you.
0:00:21 – Speaker 1
Be a part of changing the culture of conversation in your home and around the globe by making a donation today. Go to nextTalk.org and click on give and check out our resources while you’re there. More than cyber parenting conversations to connect.
0:00:36 – Speaker 2
Today we’re going all the way back to the beginning and back to some of the basics of nextTalk.
0:00:41 – Speaker 1
Yeah, going way back, like eight years back.
0:00:45 – Speaker 2
It’s throwback Monday.
0:00:48 – Speaker 1
You know, many of you know my story from my books. When my daughter was in the fourth grade she was exposed to pornography And no screens were present. She didn’t have a phone. Like that was our solution. We’re just not going to give you a phone Shutting it down. But a kid had watched a pornographic video at home and he came to school the next day And he just painted very graphic details. And here we are My kid was exposed to the idea of pornography And it was kind of like a light bulb moment. It really woke me up. It made me realize that just not giving her a phone didn’t keep her safe, you know. And that was hard because I thought that was the answer to all of it.
0:01:34 – Speaker 2
Well, none of my kids have a phone yet. My oldest is 11 and he has seen and heard so many things without even having his own device. But that’s the culture that we live in, And so shutting out having a phone or shutting down having access to the online world will not protect your kid.
0:01:55 – Speaker 1
I mean, you can delay the phone, but you cannot delay the conversations, You know. And so when I found myself in this predicament, I was like, okay, we have this whole new thing to parent. You know, we have nudes, we have social media, We have all these things that our parents never really had to parent. And what am I going to do about it? I mean, I there was talk of moving to an island. I’m not going to lie Like no Wi-Fi.
0:02:21 – Speaker 2
I was trying to buy that island first.
0:02:24 – Speaker 1
Right, um, i searched for a solution. you know how are we going to keep her safe? through trial and error and many months of searching and digging and reading all kinds of parenting books, i found Deuteronomy 6, 6 and 7. And that’s when I knew I had stumbled upon something amazing. It says talk when you are at home, when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and you are getting up. So it’s four key times to talk with your kids. And actually, when I saw on the road, that’s when I knew that I had found it, because I had already learned. my kids really liked to ask me questions in the car For some reason, when we were alone, one on one. And now I realize it’s because, you know, they don’t have to look at me directly. It takes away a little of the awkwardness.
Um, but when I saw on the road, in the Bible it just jumped out at me and I was like, oh my gosh, you know God is calling us to create a healthy dialogue with our kids all the time on the go, when we’re at home, when we’re going to bed, when we’re getting up. and it was more than just lecturing them on. this is sex, this is pornography, you know, like a checklist, it was way more than that. Um, i felt like God was calling us to this thing. I call it open communication, or, you know, we can define it as like a whole new culture that God wants us to build in our home, like this culture of conversation.
And so I embarked on trying to figure out, like, how do I do this? How do I get my kids to talk to me about everything? I didn’t really know where to start. So one night I really felt the nudge by God to crawl in bed with her at bedtime, you know. so I crawled in bed, my little fourth grader started rubbing her back and that came from, you know, deuteronomy 6, 6, and 7. Talk when you’re going to bed.
0:04:19 – Speaker 2
It’s amazing how, even though the Bible was written so long ago, it is a living, relevant, right now resource and God speaks to us and gives us the answers for what we’re going through. And I love that you did that, because I have always found that my kiddos love to talk at night. I always thought it’s because they just wanted to stay up later, which is part of it, but also I think it’s just that it takes that guard down. You’re laying down, you’re snuggling up, and maybe they’re even a little sleepy and they just start talking about their day or their struggles or you know things on their mind, and that’s when some of our best conversations are too Absolutely.
0:04:56 – Speaker 1
So there I am, you know, at the start of this whole thing eight years ago, and I’m trying to figure out, like how do I build this new culture of conversation God talks about Right? And it started with one question that I asked her as we were snuggling that night in her bed. I said what could I do better as a mom? Like how can I be a better mom? And you know, i kind of deep down in my soul wanted the answer of you’re so awesome.
0:05:25 – Speaker 2
I’m saying, mom, you’re perfect.
0:05:28 – Speaker 1
I think deep down I really wanted that, but that’s not what I got And it hurts. It hurt deeply what my little innocent nine year old said at the time. She said mom, you’re not a good listener. It really stopped me in my tracks. It felt like a gut punch And I remember laying there in my head I was getting very defensive, like do you know how much I do for you? Do you know how much is on my plate? You know all the things you have food and shelter and clothes.
0:06:01 – Speaker 2
You know this bed we’re laying in Clean underwear All the things I made this bed this morning.
0:06:09 – Speaker 1
You know, but I didn’t say any of it because you know she’s trying to tell me to be a good listener. So I’m trying. I’m trying, no win situation.
Yeah, but I look back on that moment and think I took to heart what she said And I’ve thought about it for weeks and it really did change who I was. And here I am, you know, eight years later. She’s 17 now And I’m still thinking about this conversation. And last year, for my birthday, it was really, really sweet, because she hand writes me birthday cards every year. She loves to draw and she’s beautiful with her words, and one of the things that she said on that card was you’ve gotten a lot better at listening.
You know, eight years of trying to be a better listener And I finally got a little recognition. And you don’t do it for the recognition, you know. You do it to be a better mom, you do it to be a better person. But it really brought me to tears when I saw it. You know that she recognized my hard work. It was a blessing for me, honestly, yeah, of course, and so I feel like I’ve had this training ground of how to be a better listener And I just want to kind of share some key things that I’ve learned And I’m continuing to learn every day about being a better listener.
0:07:31 – Speaker 2
And as we’re building this culture of communication, or having open communication with our kids and family, listening is so important. So, even if you feel like you’re a good listener, i promise there are some takeaways here that will help you with your family.
0:07:47 – Speaker 1
So let’s get started. Number one listening gives you more information and context. Listening is learning, so this is one of the most beneficial things I’ve learned over the years. When you talk less and listen more, you’re going to figure out what your kids really think about certain topics. So you’re like gathering data from their little minds. You’re downloading the information that is in their heads about what they think about things. I’m not saying you can’t dive into conversations to teach and guide and lead them, maybe if they’re off track or their thoughts aren’t godly right, but a lot of times in that first initial conversation I have found that listening is the key thing And then I can go away, pray about it, think about where their mind is and then come back with some great teachable moments or some Bible verses or some. hey, you were telling me the other day that you think this. but what about this? Having them see it from another perspective?
0:08:56 – Speaker 2
This is so good because it answers some of the questions we get the most, especially from parents who are just starting on this journey of creating a culture of conversation, is like how will I know what to say?
Or I don’t want to overexpose them, or I don’t know if they’ve heard about this yet. And this is the perfect answer to that, in that when your kids bring something to you or when you ask them a question, if you follow up with just maybe one open-ended question and then just be quiet, your kids will guide the conversation and they will give you the context and the clues and the information you need to move forward. Like you’re saying, mandy, if your kid comes to you and they bring up the word sex and you just dive into a definition or what you think they may need to know, you may miss the fact that they just wanted to know male versus female from their science class and you’ve overexposed them or answered a question they’re not yet really asking. So listening and gathering the information based on what they’re saying it really does guide the conversation for you and help you know how to answer better.
0:10:04 – Speaker 1
Also, you know, listen to their actions, listen to their attitude, listen to their behavior. If you’re seeing switches in that they may not be able to communicate in words what they’re feeling, but you’re seeing a difference in your kid and you know them, you know. You know your kid better than anyone outside of God, the creator, and so really tune into that, take the temperature kind of of their behaviors and their attitudes. You know, with my son I have to listen to how gaming is affecting him And I write about this in my first book Talk. You know it’s one of my greatest concerns for him And I have to watch.
Is he becoming more angry because of it? Is his healthy balance out of whack? And yes, we have conversations with him about pornography, sex, drugs, all those other things too. But the most of the time I spend on this one issue because I know it’s his struggle, it’s the one that entices him the most is the gaming aspect. And so, again, it’s that listening and knowing your kid, knowing their interest, knowing what makes them tick, knowing what makes them angry, knowing what makes them anxious, listening to all of that.
0:11:17 – Speaker 2
I love that you talked about tuning into your particular kid, because I think a lot of time with parents. We have a lot on our plate and it’s easy to think that we can parent a situation the same for each of our kids, but they’re all so different And that’s why this listening and tuning into what’s going on with each of them individually will help you in your parenting, because you do have to approach it differently with each one And what affects one will not affect the other, and that changes the way you parent it. So this whole tuning in and listening to their actions and their words is so key.
0:11:52 – Speaker 1
You know, listening is your way of gathering information. I love Proverbs one five. it says let the wise listen and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance. You know wise parents listen.
James one 19 is really one of my favorite parenting verses and it can apply to any relationship, but I feel like, as parents, it’s so relevant.
It says be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. I mean quick to listen. That’s a little snapshot of it should be a red flag alert that comes in our brain. You know we say all the time when your kids are asked by online strangers for personal information, a red flag alert should go off in their brain that something’s wrong and I need to go tell an adult. well, parents, we need to have some red flag alerts So you know, when your kid comes to you and maybe it’s Hey, this is what I saw on a screen and it’s pornography, or they’re struggling with sexuality questions, whatever it is, sometimes we just snap off because we can’t believe they’re exposed to so much at such a young age And what we really need to do is just be quick to listen, gather the information, figure out where your kid’s head in is in all of this and then take that pray process and then come back the next day and then have a teachable conversation where you’re giving scripture and input and that kind of thing.
0:13:23 – Speaker 2
There’s this quote that I’ve heard so many times and they use it a lot in the educational realm And I’m not sure who originally said it because when I looked it up and tried to research it it doesn’t.
It’s not really clear, but the quote is whoever is doing the most talking is doing the most learning. And that really resonates with me, because If your kid is talking and they’re processing with you and they’re sharing their feelings, they’re learning what’s going on in their head, they’re learning what God is showing them, they’re learning about how to handle this situation. But if we’re just talking and lecturing and going on and on and on, then we’re the one processing, we’re the one learning the situation And our kid has probably tuned us out at that point. So if we can be quiet, be quick to listen and let our kids talk, they’re going to learn so much more, and I mean the fact that that’s biblical really is a red flag alert for us. That really is a call to action to be quiet And that’s one of the best ways that we can help our kids process.
0:14:23 – Speaker 1
Well, and you know, we can process with our friends, because I think we do need to process or with our families.
And then and then do go back and you, you know, as parents, that’s our job is to share our opinions, share our wisdom, our life experiences, and so that’s OK to do. That’s we’re not saying you can’t do that, but don’t do it in a heated way or in a in a lecture type rant. You know that’s what we’re trying to avoid here. So we want you to instill truth and biblical knowledge into your kids, but we want to do it in a way that they’re receiving it and they’re hearing it, and then it’s productive.
0:15:02 – Speaker 2
Timing is really key.
0:15:04 – Speaker 1
So let’s move on. Number two listening improves your relationships. Specifically, listening will make you a better parent. I want you to think about your friend group here. You know your adult friend group. we all have friends, acquaintances And the ones we enjoy hanging out with the most. you know they’re the ones, they’re the friends that really invest in us. They want to get to know us. They ask questions, they listen to what we’re struggling with. You know, relationships are a two way street. Some friendships are not. You know what we’re talking about.
0:15:37 – Speaker 2
You have some of those friends where, going into a time when you’re together, you’re going to be the listener, you’re going to be the one that is helping them walk through something or supporting them, and you probably will not get a chance to share what’s going on in your life, but you know that that’s what that relationship is like. But I think, with the friends that where it’s a two way street and you both get to share what’s going on in your life, those are the friendships you really feel close with. Those are the deep connections where you want to be able to, you want to spend your time.
0:16:07 – Speaker 1
Well, and when you’re struggling, those are the ones that you turn to, because you need a listening ear, you need a trusted friend to guide you, and so I think, if we think about that, that’s who we want to be for our kids. You know, we don’t want to be someone that’s always just lecturing and giving input. We want to be the person they can process with, ask awkward questions, be the sounding board like, be the safe place for our kids, and that requires listening.
0:16:36 – Speaker 2
And it requires the practice of listening to the stuff that doesn’t seem important. So when it does become important, they still want to come to you. Then you’ve established that relationship with them. Perfect example of this was when my oldest was in kindergarten and I always made his lunch for school And I’m all about the bargain and the clearance stuff. So they had this giant box of gogurts on clearance at the grocery store. So I was like, yes, yogurt for the win, yes, and it never crossed my mind that he would not want Elsa and Anna on his yogurt tube. I don’t know. I was like, let it go. You know, let it go, eat the yogurt, eat the yogurt.
And so my son is super sweet, we call him the gentle giant And he tends to just kind of go with the flow.
Anyway, he came home from school one day And he timidly brought up that he didn’t want this yogurt anymore And I was trying to figure out why And it ended up it was embarrassing to him to have what he was saying girl yogurt for lunch, and inside I wanted to be like it was on sale and you will eat it, but I didn’t. I listened and I heard him and I said I totally see where you’re coming from and I get it. And I didn’t send the yogurt with him anymore and I ate more gogurt than I ever wanted to. But him knowing that he could tell me something that was really embarrassing to him and concerning to him and I didn’t make fun of him or give him a hard time or brush it off is not a big deal. I really believe those little moments when he was young is why he’s coming to me with the big stuff now. I set the standard that his thoughts and concerns matter even when they’re small, and so he feels safe to tell me now that they’re big.
0:18:22 – Speaker 1
He felt heard because you listened, And I think that’s so critical and important for us all to understand, even with the little things. Number three being a good listener starts with you listening to God. Okay, so this sounds so cliche, but it’s critical. I mean it really is. If we just try to be a good listener on our own, we’re gonna fail, because I mean, we’re just not, we’re selfish people, we’re human beings right.
It’s all about us all the time. But when we really submit to God and that dying to self thought process and serving others, then listening becomes part of our normal DNA, you know. And then when we try to see God daily, we listen to him, we read his word, we walk in his spirit. If we do all that, we are going to be better listeners because we’re seeking Jesus in all of it.
0:19:19 – Speaker 2
And listening is biblical. It’s associated with being wise and continuously learning and growing as a person. In Proverbs 19.20, it says listen to advice and accept discipline And at the end you will be counted among the wise.
0:19:35 – Speaker 1
Well, and I love Proverbs 15.31 to Kim. It says if you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. Ooh, yes, my daughter gave me constructive criticism when she was nine. I took it to heart because I was trying to listen to Jesus. I was trying to say, lord, show me my shortcomings, because I wanna create this new culture in our home And I know that I’m the adult I have to lead this thing. So what am I doing wrong, like, what do I need to fix so that my kids really start talking to me about all these things? And I have found, by listening to that constructive criticism from her, it’s changed us. It’s changed our relationship, it’s made it better, it’s changed my marriage. You know, it’s changed my friendships because I’ve become a better person, i’ve become a better listener. I know now how better to invest in people.
0:20:28 – Speaker 2
So, just as a reminder, wrap up. Number one listening gives you more information and context. Listening is learning. Number two listening improves your relationships. Listening will make you a better parent. And three being a good listener starts with you listening to God.
Transcribed by https://podium.page