Listen Up Kids!

A friend has invited me to help her write an article for a local publication.  The theme is nurturing your children’s spiritual life.  We talked last night about choosing three points to make that would be most valuable in the lives of our kids.  The first thing that popped into my head is the importance of intuition and listening to yourself.

I have a terrible, terrible memory so it may be that I just don’t remember BUT I don’t think I was ever told to listen to myself and the feelings that rise from within me.  I knew to listen to my teachers, my parents, other adults in my life, and even my friends.  It never occurred to me to listen to ME.  In fact, I’d say I was often even afraid to listen to myself.  When I knew the answers to questions in class I was terrified to raise my hand and respond for fear I’d be wrong and look stupid.  I remember times when I went with the pack and joined in on not so nice behavior b/c following others was easier than not.  I’m sure there was a little voice or a tug at my heart reminding me to do no harm, but I ignored that voice until the deed was done.  Then I had to deal with the consequences of either getting in trouble, losing a friend, or feeling guilty.

I believe that teaching our children to stay connected and listen to the voice within is vital to their emotional health.  I caught a few seconds of an Oprah episode yesterday.  It was long enough to hear Oprah speak to this idea.  The show topic must have been sexual abuse.  She said that our kids need to pay attention to those “this doesn’t seem right” feelings and speak up when they have them.  Too many kids stay silent when they are being hurt because somewhere along the line they’ve learned that they should listen to everyone else but themselves.  We are wired with this protective instinct for a reason.  We know when something isn’t right.  Instead of listening to the outside pressure, whether from peers or “trusted” adults, our kids ought to be encouraged to listen to the quiet inner voice or feeling that is saying no, no, no.

So if I had any parenting advice for myself and others I would say to teach our children that they have an inner compass and how best to use it.


7 thoughts on “Listen Up Kids!

  1. ray June 18, 2010 / 8:59 am

    Great post! And advice not only for kids…

  2. Fun Mama - Deanna June 18, 2010 / 9:53 am

    Yes!! So much trouble could have been avoided by me if I’d just listened to that little voice. Or trusted myself and time to make things better instead of struggling to be just like everyone else was.

  3. Alisha June 18, 2010 / 2:51 pm

    Yes! I have just recently begun to wonder about how to teach this to my son now that he can communicate more. At what age do they understand the concept of this though? I wish I listened to my intuition more through my adolescence and young adulthood…I think it would have saved me from a lot of ache.

    • lesleehorner June 18, 2010 / 3:16 pm

      My daughters are 6 and 4. I had an incident where the neighbor kid was encouraging my oldest to bully her little sister. I watched her hesitantly go along with her friend and leave her little sister devastated. When we parted with our neighbor I asked Bella how she felt inside as Callee was crying. She of course said “bad.” I explained to her that she was being a bully and that the feeling inside was reminding her it feels better to be loving. We talked about it for a while and she did seem to get it. It is something that isn’t easy to remember to talk about until something like this comes up and you witness your child giving in to peer pressure and doing something hurtful.

  4. eastkentuckygal June 19, 2010 / 9:13 am

    Yes!!! This is so true. In our mountain culture we are taught kind of indirectly that dreams and “gut” feelings tell us important things. We are taught to believe that some people “just know” things (I believe all people do). But, also there is the stigma that follows all that learning that it is just hooey or hillbilly superstition. But, we all have it. It is the Spirit (I believe). For others it might be that they believe it is a form of protecting ourselves – instinct. It’s all right in my opinion. Using it would save ourselves a great deal of heartache. Everytime I have had overwhelming gut feelings and not listened to them, I have come to regret it. It seems the teaching to ignore such things by our society is strong because I’ve had to learn that lessons over and over. Thank you for reminding us to help our children keep that in tact.

  5. JennyDefx June 30, 2010 / 12:09 pm


    This moved me. I’m going through “following” vs. “leading properly”
    behaviors with my Ri. May I post this on my blog? It means so much that I have guidance and suggestions from other wonderful mothers such as yourself.

    Thank you!

    • lesleehorner June 30, 2010 / 12:48 pm

      Yes you can absolutely share this on your blog!!

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