How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk by Becky Harling (book review)
At the start of 2020, I read Steve and Becky Harling's book Listen Well, Lead Better. It was a fair book, but not outstanding in my mind. I much preferred John C. Maxwell's Everyone Communicates, Few Connect when it comes to the realm of building your listening skills so you can lead well.
However, I wasn't looking for that specific of a takeaway when I started How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk by Becky Harling. I try to be very intentional on building my relationships with my children. I hear from other friends that their kids don't talk to them, and I don't think of myself as a good listener. I talk a lot and I think most of us talkers would say listening is not our strength. However, I want to continue to grow myself so that I can be a good listener, especially when it comes to my own children.
This was a terrific book, but I can't go over all of the specifics so I'm just going to choose a few things to touch on that were meaningful to me:
In the chapter called "Watch Your Nonverbals" I was accosted with the realization (or remembering) that my tone can speak volumes in communicating. Often I have a tone of correction or incredulity with my kids (I can't believe you did that or said that!). I need to work on having a neutral tone (and neutral face) when listening to them or communicating with them.
In "Listen to Affirm Strengths" Harling posed the question, "What if you intentionally shifted your focus to concentrate more on their strengths than weaknesses?" Oh boy! That's a tough one as a mom; we are often trying to build them to have good behaviors so we get in this correction overload mode. However, if we were to encourage our children when we see their strengths, they would naturally want to do those things again. It's so helpful to have our strengths brought out and encouraged, too, right?
My favorite chapter was the last one: "Teach Them to Have Conversations with God." I blew it with my kids one night - totally blew it. Yelled and made them feel awful. Hate that. But it did bring about good confessions and forgiveness. But I told them, I wish I was a patient mom. But we are so blessed to have a good, good Father who is always patient. I will never be perfectly patient, but He is. I will never be perfectly steadfast, but He is. I will always fail you at some point, but He never will. Teaching our children about prayer is showing them our weaknesses and His strength. That He will be there through all things, even when we cannot be. I believe, like Harling, that "the greatest gift you will ever give your child is praying for him and teaching him how to pray."
I had other great things underlined in the book, and am so glad I included it in my 2021 reading list.
Disclaimer: Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with this book. I was forced to write a good review, but thought it fitting for this book.