I want to encourage parents and youth workers that your words are not falling on deaf ears. “In one ear, out the other” is a phrase that has been used for decades by frustrated adults attempting to communicate with teenagers. I’m not saying that never happens, but what I have learned from teenagers is that when they perceive that your motivation is to help them in some way, they store away your words in a safe place.
Kids process what they hear differently than most adults when we hear something that’s good or useful we feel like we should do something about what we just heard. When the same thing happens to a kid, they quickly think that this is not something I need today, so I will store it away and bring it back up when I need it.
When we are talking to a kid our expectation is that they will process what we are telling them the same way that we would process, not gonna happen! While we are talking they are thinking that this is really good stuff and if I ever need that advice, I know where to go.
I know that it can be really tough to keep pouring into a container that seems to be leaking, but keep pouring anyway because one day that will need and use what you have poured in. In the 1700 German children’s song-Liza suggests that Henry (great name!) tries to fix the leaky bucket. This Henry would like to suggest that the bucket really isn’t leaking.
Hamsight: Keeping pouring into your kids