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"Mommy, I wish you wouldn't laugh at me." My six year old said to me the other day.
I had just finished telling my husband something funny that he had said earlier that day, and we were having a good laugh over it. But his request to stop laughing at him stopped us.
I explained that we weren't laughing at him, we just thought he was funny, but if it hurt his feeling we wouldn't do that anymore.
He seemed relieved with that answer, and didn't seem to be bothered anymore, but his assumption that we were laughing at him got me thinking.
I remember several years ago seeing this quote on Sarah Mae's blog that said, "Respect your child more than your closest friend." Ever since then, I've had it in the back of my mind.
How would I treat my best friend?
Would I sigh in annoyance that she asked to help me make dinner? Would I angrily snap at her in front of other people? Would I walk out of the room while she was telling me a story because I'm just so busy I can't possibly stop to look her in the eyes and give her my full attention?
Of course not. I'd laugh with her and say thank you when help was offered. I'd listen to the story, and give her my input.
In all honesty, the hard truth is that I'd probably give an acquaintance, or even a stranger more respect than I sometimes give my own children.
And it has to stop.
Because yes it's hard to listen when you have a to do list chasing you and other children vying for your attention, but our kids need to know that they are important to us. That we are their biggest fans. That when they tell us that we are hurting their feelings, or that something has upset them that we will listen to them.
I don't want my kids to think that they are a nuisance to me. I want them to know that our home is a safe place for them to be themselves, and that they will be loved and respected here. Because at the end of the day they are my priority.
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Linked to A wise woman builds her home, Walking Redeemed, Proverbs 31 Thursdays, Ramblings of a Christian Mom, Growing Homemakers, Raising Arrows