As I was walking to my sons’ school at dismissal time, I passed a grandmother and her grandson walking to their car.

Boy- “I have so many things to tell you, Granny!”
Granny- “Great! I have all afternoon to listen.”

It was a simple exchange, but a beautiful one. He puffed up with excitement and added a bounce to his step. A sweet little one wanting to pour out what was on his heart, and an old woman with the wisdom to hand out an open-ended offer to catch it.

I fail at this type of thing so often. Dinner prep beckons, laundry wench duties call, and a million other things start vying for my attention and roadblock this destination. Many times the tasks win the war of me handing out such an invitation to share until their hearts are content. I try to cram it into a session of me asking questions about their day, and they give me one-word answers. It’s less than beautiful and appears to annoy them rather than build them up. I tell myself they just don’t have much to say. Maybe that’s a lie.

I read all the blogs, pin the checklists, and listen to podcasts about how to ask creative questions to children after school. I’ve seen the conversation prompts. They’re all good, don’t get me wrong. However, I think it all comes down to this:

Just be there with empty hands.

Be present. Be ready to listen. Be willing to set everything down (and I know there is a lot us moms are toting around), and be open to being in the moment with them. No phone. No distractions. No scripted conversation starters. No preoccupations.

Here’s to trying to carve out some time to do just this. Who’s with me?



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