Sawyer loves video games. He loves playing them, and he loves talking about them.
Now, I am no gamer. Far from it. My idea of a great video game was Frogger on Atari in the 80s. And, the truth is that when he starts to tell me about his most recent conquests on Lego Star Wars or wants to show me the house he just built on Minecraft, my eyes glaze over just a little bit. I start to feel that sinking feeling that I get when Chad drags me into a Best Buy.
But, it’s imperative that I listen attentively when Sawyer talks to me about his video games. Because right now he is entrusting me with something that matters to him and that he is passionate about. And, if I act disinterested, if I tell him that it kind of bores me, if I ridicule him or make him feel like I don’t think this is important, then someday, when he might entrust me with bigger things, he will turn to someone else who has made him feel listened to.
Jesus tells a story in Matthew 25 about servants who were given gold by their master. One of the men went away and buried his bag of gold without trying to do anything with it to make his master’s riches grow. But, other servants came back after having doubled the amount that they were given. To the men who had cultivated and grown their treasure, the master said, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful in a few things! I will put you in charge of many things.”
The intended application of this parable may seem to have little to do with parenting a seven year old boy. But, here’s the reality of things, mamas. When our children are little, these are the tough years. And, these are the so, so easy years. Yes, it’s tough to be so needed and to be buried in little kid-ness from dawn until dusk. But, these are the times of being faithful with few things. These are the days of laying the groundwork, setting up a foundation, doing the tiny things that will set the tone for the big things that are coming down the pike.
These are the days of listening to our sons talk about video games and listening to our daughters argue the indignities of math homework. If we are faithful in listening, really listening, then one day in the nearer-than-we-think future, they will be more likely to come to us to talk about their crises of faith. To talk about the pressure to have sex. To talk about the heartaches of growing up. If we are faithful here, in the little years, in the small things, then we are more likely to be entrusted with the big stuff.
So, stay faithful, dear mothers, even when the subject matter is yawn-inducing. Even when you have a million other things you need to be doing. Just listen, and give your kids reason to believe that you can be trusted with the little things and the big things, just because you care.
Tonight when I tucked him in, Sawyer said, There’s no one in the world who loves you more than I do, except God and Daddy. These little years are so precious. And, these little people are worth a listen when they try to share their lives through their interests and ideas. The time goes quickly. Be faithful with the little. And wait to see how quickly the big stuff is knocking down your door. I want to be the one that my kids run to when that happens. So, tomorrow, I will talk video games with my boy. And, the next day, who knows what we’ll talk about? But, we’ll be talking. And, I’ll keep listening.