Take, for example, last weekend. My oldest came to me, car keys in hand, and said, “Mom, can I go to the movies with Brad?” Now, Brad is not his real name. I’ve changed it to protect the innocent…his parents.
“No,” I said.
Why not? Because just the other day I’d heard horror stories about “Brad’s” behavior. Should I explain all of this to my son? Should I tell him that I thought Brad a bad influence? I chickened out. “Um…because I said so.”
Well, that led to a tirade of teenaged emotions, all aimed at making me change my mind. I glanced at Max, who sat at my feet, ears perked, quietly listening. After my son left, I picked Max up, set him on my lap, and tickled his chin.
“What do you think, Max? Should I have let him go?” I then went on to explain to Max all the reasons why I thought it better to make my son stay home. All the while, Max watched me with his big dark eyes, never flinching, never speaking. Not that I expected him to, mind you. Still, I was surprised how good it felt to have him be such a good. . .listener.
And that’s when it occurred to me. Most times, friends don’t call me up wanting advice. They want someone who’ll listen—an ear to hear, so to speak. But I get it confused, thinking I’ve got to come up with just the right words to say. In reality, the best words are the ones I keep to myself. I guess that’s why God gave us all one mouth and two ears, so we’ll listen twice as much. Now, if I could just put it into practice.
Psalm 34:11-15 (New International Version)
11 Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
12 Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
15 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry;