Hearing each other’s thoughts, concerns,
dreams, fears, hurts, and joys lays a foundation
for trust and connection.
The Whole Picture
It is vital to also have some “alone
time” with each member of the family, when you and your spouse or child
can share deeply. In order to experience
deep sharing, we must carve out a time,
a place, and an environment where it is
safe to share, where we are free from distractions and secure in knowing we are
each valued. It is time well spent, because
hearing each other’s thoughts, concerns,
dreams, fears, hurts, and joys lays a foundation for trust and connection.
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Become an Active and
One of the most valuable and important relational skills to learn is listening.
Make no mistake—becoming a good
listener is hard work! If you are not a
good listener, improve: read books on
listening skills, or ask someone who is a
good listener how he does it. ;e impact
will astonish you.
To get you started, consider these
Learn How to Express Your
Finally, one of the most helpful tools in
building healthy friendships within the
family is learning the ;ve “love languages” as described by Dr. Gary Chapman.
Many, many people have bene;ted from
his research on the ;ve di;erent ways
we express and receive love: words of af-;rmation, quality time, receiving gi;s,
acts of service, and physical touch. Find
out what love languages you have, what
kinds your spouse and children have,
and make sure you are “speaking their
language.” An excellent source to engage
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These are some of the paths I have
imperfectly walked with my husband
and children, concepts they have helped
me learn and grow in. I encourage you
to also become intentional in becoming
best friends with your spouse and children. Take stock of your relationships
right now. Is your home a safe place for
building friendships? Do you take time
to laugh and play? Have you discovered
ways to enjoy each one in your family?
Do you have regular time for listening
Wherever you are on the path, commit your ways to the Lord, and ask Him
to help you in befriending those beloved
and unique individuals with whom you
live. Believe me, the reward far outweighs the cost!
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•;Give your children (or spouse) time
to speak, even if it means waiting patiently during a period of silence as
they collect their thoughts.
•;Make eye contact when they speak
•;Be an active listener, interacting with
what the other is saying, rather than
jumping in to tell your own story.
•;Don’t assume you know what they
mean, but instead, gently ask questions that indicate you are listening
and seeking to understand.
•;Be willing to listen to their ideas and
insights without trying to control
their words or responses.
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When I recently asked my 30-year-
old son his thoughts about this subject,
he replied: “;e times you and Dad listened to me—really listened, without
prescribing what my words ought to
be—were times I felt most befriended.
Controlling children’s responses doesn’t
encourage relationship, but rather, performance. And, a performance-based
relationship isn’t love . . . .”
For more on this subject, be sure to listen to Diana’s interview with Dr. Scott
Turansky, from the National Center for
Biblical Parenting, on her blogtalkradio
program, at this link.
the real-life opportunities to learn how kids
learn. Mentored by educators whose focus
was to honor Him who created all learners, and with an international background
(born in Germany, B. A. in French), Diana
has been enthusiastically received by audiences on four continents.
Diana Waring, author of; Beyond Survival,;Reaping the Harvest,;and;History
Revealed;curriculum, discovered years ago
that “the key to education is relationship.”
Beginning in the 80s, Diana homeschooled
her children through high school—providing
1. Schae;er, Edith, What Is a Family?, London,
Hodder & Stoughton, 1975.
2. Scripture quoted from the New King James Version of the Bible.
3. Chapman, Gary, ;e Five Love Languages of Children, Chicago, North;eld Publishing, 1997.