Your Child’s Heart Requires Time

Esther who blogs at  MATROZKEPZO (and holds the distinction of being the only foreign language blog, that I know of, to have Raising Olives in their blog roll) left this insightful comment on my last post in Your Child’s Heart series.  I thought it was good enough to warrant it’s own post.

Many people, even Christian mothers think, that it is sufficient and enough to occasionally listen to their kids. At these times, they sit down with them, and ask questions about school and life, and they are expecting ‘talk-flood’ from their youngsters. But usually, that flood doesn’t happen- and no wonder why. Because nobody can force another person at a certain time to open his heart up for him for ten minutes or for half an hour- just to be neglected for days or weeks after that.

The key is availability.

Many loving parents don’t realize, that there’s no such think as quality time by itself! QUALITY COMES FROM QUANTITY. You need to spend many many many hours (and I mean it literally) watching and listening to your children. You don’t even need to ask questions. Just be with them, and let them feel your presence. And then, you need to listen to them.

I think, this is the hardest part. To sit still smiling, and look into their eyes while they are chatting, talking and talking to you about everything. Sometimes it is so hard for me not to close my ears and my heart at them – even when they are talking almost continuously all-day-long! :) But I know, there is no other way I can have their quality time. Because in this way, I build relationships between me and each of them uniquely. So that each of them get to know, that mom is a person that he can trust with his secrets and one who he can count on- probably one of few in the early years… I think this is very important.

This makes clear the point that I was trying to make.  In order to keep our children’s hearts we must spend both quality and quantity time with our children.  I think Esther put her finger on a key point, “Quality comes from quantity.”  You can’t have one without the other.

In Deuteronomy 6: 4-9 we are to teach these things (God’s law) diligently to our children, but then it goes on to explain that we should do that as we walk through life with them.   If we aren’t WITH our children, if we are allowing others to raise  them, teach them,  spend the majority of waking hours with them, it is difficult to obey this command.   We can’t simply schedule some “quality time” with our children in order to teach them what they must know.  We must build a relationship, a relationship that in some way mirrors the relationship that our children should have with God.

For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:12)

Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:13)

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? (Hebrews 12:7-9)

I’d love to hear how you incorporate both quality and quantity time with your children and how you foster and develop solid, loving relationships with your children.

Other posts in “Your Child’s Heart” series:

Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest0Email this to someoneTweet about this on Twitter

23 Responses to Your Child’s Heart Requires Time
  1. chantelle
    February 18, 2010 | 2:16 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. I need to be aware of times when I am trying to get things done and not really listening, but my thirteen-year old tends to pick-up on it and tells me, “Mom you aren’t really listening to me.”

    [Reply]

  2. Kimberly @ Raising Olives
    February 18, 2010 | 2:49 pm

    I find myself doing the same thing and those bigger kids KNOW us and they can tell when we are paying attention and when we’re just going through the motions.

    I frequently pray that God will help me tune into my kids, really listen to them. It’s something I struggle with.

    [Reply]

  3. Bonni
    February 18, 2010 | 3:02 pm

    I actually had to use Post It Notes at my kitchen sink to remind me to spend quality time with, and show affection to, each of my children every day or sometimes the busy-ness of life took over 🙁

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I know what you mean. The busy-ness is one reason we use a schedule. Then I know that my priorities are being reflected in the way that I spend my time each day.

    [Reply]

  4. Monique
    February 18, 2010 | 3:21 pm

    It’s amazing. I’m with my son (and now my daughter) ALL DAY LONG, and at least once a week REALLY look forward to their bedtime. And yet, once their asleep, I often find myself thinking, “I miss them!”

    With that said, maybe someone can post some ideas of fun things to do with toddler that don’t require a boatload of supplies. I find myself feeling that, although we share a lot of quantity time, I let the necessities of housekeeping take away from focused, intensive “quality” time doing something specially geared towards training and playing with my son. He already “helps” me with many chores, folding laundry being his favorite :-), “helping” mommy clear out the plastics in the dishwasher, etc. And although my hubby and I’ve decided to keep him home vs. a “preschool” daycare once or twice a week, I sometimes feel he’s missing out on a lot of the fun that those programs offer. I need reassurance! (Running theme, it seems 🙂

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I would urge you to look to scripture for your standard on what your child needs. This culture has filled our minds with ideas and standards that are completely contrary to scripture.

    Give me a call sometime, I’d love to talk with you about this and offer you some reassurance. You’re doing a great job! 🙂

    [Reply]

  5. thesleepyknitter
    February 18, 2010 | 10:28 pm

    I’m curious — what do you mean, in responding to Monique’s comments about missing the fun of daycare, by saying that “this culture has filled our minds with ideas and standards that are completely contrary to Scripture”? We are reluctantly preparing to send K to a government-run pre-school because she will have a speech therapist with her during those hours. The school is secular but has a high number of Christian workers. I HATE the thought of packing my baby off to school, but I have various people telling me I’m being selfish about her speech development. As a two-year-old, K has the intelligence of a three-year-old, according to testing, but the verbal skills of a one-year-old, and we are repeatedly told that being around other children and away from us will dramatically improve her speech. I’m really torn about the day care! So I’m interested in your response to Monique, since you seem to have tied the ideas of daycare and Scriptural teaching together (at least, when I look at the other things she mentioned, the day care comments seem to be what you are responding to with the comment about culture and Scripture).

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Sleepy,

    I was referring more to the notion that children must be involved in activities outside of the home to have fun, develop their talents and have an “acceptable” childhood. So my response was specifically about her son “missing out on a lot of the fun” offered in a preschool. I see no basis for that concern in scripture and if we hold that standard, that we don’t want our children to miss out on the fun, we may make all sorts of decisions that are contrary to scripture because the Bible has no such standard. Does that make sense?

    The Bible clearly gives the responsibility for raising and training children to the parents. I’m not saying that parents never need to use the expertise of others to help us fulfill our role (our son Nicholas needed a lot of physical therapy because he was injured at birth). However, I think that in our society the mistake that most parents make it to give their God-given responsibility of training and instructing their children to others who have no authority in that arena.

    [Reply]

    Wendy Reply:

    I read a book that said “If you don’t make time for your children when they are young, you can’t expect them to make time for you when they are grown.”
    When a baby is born he is going to bond with the person that feeds him and takes care of his needs. As children grow they need more than food. My husband was basically raised by his grandparents, because his parents were always busy working. Now the relationship with his parents is strained to say the least because there wasn’t a relationship built.

    In response to services in the school system. My son has Spina Bifida and requires physical therapy. When he turned 3, public school physical therapy was offered to us. After much prayer, we opted for private therapy instead of going with the free public therapy. Difficult decision but you must be the advocate for your child, get them the help they need in a way that doesn’t compromise your convictions.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thank you so much for your comments Wendy. You made a much tougher decision than we have in regard to the physical therapy offered by the government, but our was similar.

    When our son Nicholas was born he was injured and his left arm was left paralyzed. The “free” government therapist would come to our house 3 days a week to help Nicholas regain as much use as he could. However, for the same reasons that I outlined in this post about the government schools, we opted to drive to therapy that we paid for ourselves 3 times a week.

    You said that beautifully Wendy.

    [Reply]

  6. Roan
    February 19, 2010 | 1:13 pm

    Hi Kimberly,
    To me the key is really “availability”. We must be available in order to claim those moments. We cannot schedule “talking to Mama” time. What I mean is, in reality, the time that my children most want to spend time with me, share their hearts with me, or just “talk” is when it is usually the least convenient for ME. That’s where I have to die to self. Many nights as I am tucking in a child, ready to escape to the quietness of my dark house…..ready for some alone time in the minutes before I collapse into bed, that child will want to “talk”. Maybe not about something important, maybe about something really important….but they just want my undivided attention. They are relaxed…they are chatty. And I must take advantage of this time. I must show them how much I love them by listening when it is not convenient to me. I am not talking about a child stalling his bedtime, I mean a child who really wants to share his heart. This also happens at other times during the day…..not always at the time I have mentally “scheduled” time with child.

    Spending large quantities of time leads to moments of quality time.

    Have a joyful day!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Yes, you’re right being available is key and it does seem that they are ready to talk just when I’m ready to shut down for the day. Just another way that having children gives us the opportunity to learn to be more like Christ.

    [Reply]

  7. thesleepyknitter
    February 19, 2010 | 9:20 pm

    Hmmm, yes, that does make sense, Kimberly. Thank you for taking the time to respond. You know, I have so loved finding your blog and feeling like I have a digital Titus 2 woman out there :-), but I’m also reading many other “mama” blogs, some of which are Protestant, some Catholic, some “charismatic”, some “Holiness”, some secular, some Montessori, some Humphries, et cetera, and I’m having troubles wading through it all in view of “what Scripture says.” I really understand what Monique says about “needing reassurance.” It’s hard to know in our day-to-day lives what is Truth and what just sounds good, hard to know if we’re making the right decisions about things. You know, lots of time I feel like those “weak willed women” that Paul talks about, who are persuaded by any new idea that comes along.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    It is difficult, but God promises wisdom to those who ask.

    Praying for wisdom for all of us. 🙂

    [Reply]

  8. Dawna
    February 20, 2010 | 4:37 pm

    Great post Kimberly. I am blessed to be a Domestic Diva a.k.a “stay-at-home mom” and it has been that way since before the kiddos arrived. It can be a struggle to spend quality time with my children beyond homeschool, errands and every day life. In order to help with this my husband and I date our children, yes… we even date our two year old. 🙂 It doesn’t have to involve going outside the home if you don’t have the cash to do so. Many times it is just snuggling together and talking or reading a book, maybe playing a board game just the two of us or watching a special movie. During the times where we have a little bit of extra cash then we will maybe take a child out for a special dessert or dinner just Mom and son or Dad and son. It has been such a great way to get to know our little men better and help them to know just how valued and loved they are.

    When I read Monique’s request for toddler ideas I thought I would share what has worked well for us. I use a book called Toddler Theme-A-Saurus by: Jean Warren(try to find it at your library or Amazon also has it). It is a book filled with toddler ideas for crafts, games, songs, and rhymes. In the morning I have “circle time” with my kids (my oldest son is eight but he still enjoys spending this time with his little brother). I set up a blanket on the floor, start by opening in prayer, sing some songs and then we do a few activities (painting, playdough, dancing, or special themes from the book above). It is a wonderful time filled with fun and exploration and it gives my two year old the focused attention he needs in the morning to feel special. After our activities are finished we end with a story to two, a goodbye song and a snack. Once circle is over, Uriah is ready to play by himself for a while so I can start school with my eight year old. So, that is what we do in our little neck of the woods Monique… have fun with your little one. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I love the idea of “dating” your children. We’ve incorporated a similar thing with our schedule. I have time scheduled each day (or every couple of days) to spend with each child.

    I also have some rules for myself to help me be more available to the kids. i.e. if one of my kids comes and asks me to read them a book I try, if possible, to stop what I’m doing and sit down right on the floor where we are and read it to them. I also try to always have a child in my lap when I’m sitting down (this includes my 12 and 13 year olds). They love that special time to spend time with mom.

    [Reply]

  9. Mindy M
    March 1, 2010 | 9:35 pm

    I am so thankful I homeschool and have had hours and hours talking with my children. Sometimes our morning Bible studies get long and interesting as the kids ask questions. At night I let them talk at length. My teenage daughter started coming into my room to pray together at night and share what was on her heart. These times are so precious. They grow up in a blink.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    What a blessing to you as you begin to reap some of the rewards of pouring your life into your children.

    I too am thankful that we’ve chosen to homeschool. Even so, I still feel that I haven’t had enough time with them. It does go very quickly.

    [Reply]

  10. Kristina
    March 29, 2010 | 6:05 pm

    Kimberly, I’m new to your blog – I found it while reading reviews on Kinderbach – but I’m hooked! Thank you for sharing your insights, as well as generating such wonderful discussions and forums for sharing.

    I love all of the information (from everyone!) about gaining your child’s heart. I have three (4.75, 3, and 1) and we’ve had some challenging moments with my oldest. We plan to begin homeschooling in the fall, so I will definitely be visiting your site regularly as I get ready to begin this wonderful journey God has called me to.

    Blessings to you and your beautiful family.

    [Reply]

  11. Elizabeth
    March 30, 2010 | 4:22 pm

    One additional thought — being available to your children increases as they get older; issues with teens pop up quickly & a parent needs to be on hand as they appear. Teens need help with on the spot mature reasoning and a parent there to assist and oversee.

    The hard work with small children pays off as they grow.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I’m starting to learn this. Do you have any advice to help me be a better “older kid” mom?

    [Reply]

  12. Elizabeth
    April 4, 2010 | 12:40 am

    Well, I’ve made more than my share of mistakes, but keep them close to your heart, stay interested in what they’re doing, and remember when it is when they are hardest to love that they need it the most.

    Love this blog!

    [Reply]

  13. Conversatio in Caelis
    October 28, 2010 | 10:53 am

    “Esther who blogs at MATROZKEPZO (and holds the distinction of being the only foreign language blog, that I know of, to have Raising Olives in their blog roll) “

    Hey, my blog is written in German (and English because I get many visitors from the USA) – and your blog is linked in my sidebar! So I guess this is the only billingual blog that provides a link to Raising Olives 🙂

    Just reading your series and enjoying it!

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply