Well, it’s official. Clay made it a month at preschool before we got the dreaded “talk” from the teacher. I took him today and she pulled me aside and started with “Clay is a very smart boy. Clay is a very sweet boy.” I held my breath for a moment, knowing what was coming next: “But he doesn’t always listen very well here at school.” Apparently he was arguing with a kid over a container of toys and didn’t listen when the teachers tried to resolve the four-year-olds’ power struggle. He ignored them and was then punished (I didn’t ask how, I assume time out?). I looked at Clay and reminded him that we always listen to adults, and let her know we’ve been working on this issue at home and she’ll hopefully see improvement soon.
Not listening makes me crazy. If a genie granted me one mommy wish, it would be for my kids to listen to us all the time. Avery is little, so she’s still a work in progress. Clay (like a lot of men!) has what they call “selective listening” – hearing what he wants to hear. Ask him to get his bathing suit on for the pool, it’s done. Ask him to pick up his toys or get dressed for church, he suddenly loses his hearing. In the past few weeks, he’s been put on iPad restriction and we’ve decided that he gets one chance to listen when we ask him to do something, then if he doesn’t do it, he goes straight to his room. He hates to be alone so we’re hopeful that works.
Clay’s other listening problem arises when he questions authority. He doesn’t do it to be a brat, but he’s a thinker. He wants to know reasoning behind everything. You tell him to finish his apples because they are good for him, and he says yes, fruit is healthy, but wants to know the specifics on what part of the apples makes them healthy. I don’t want to squash his desire to learn, but I also don’t want his questions to come off as talking back.
The final listening obstacle for Clay is the fact he never stops talking. It’s hard to use your ears when your mouth never stops moving. This is a problem I knew we’d encounter, as you can’t avoid genetics. Chase and I rarely stop talking, so neither do our kids.
When you ask Clay what he wants to be when he grows up, he says a doctor. In some ways I think it would be a great career for him because he loves to learn and wants to take care of people. Realistically I think following in the footsteps of his grandfather and great-grandfather would be more appropriate. He’d make a hell of a lawyer, as long as he can listen to his clients.
Anyone else have a future lawyer on their hands? Have good tips for developing listening skills? I’d really appreciate any advice!