Children Will Listen…..

Careful the things you say
Children will listen….

So it’s no secret I am a huge Broadway musical fan.  Possibly more of a secret is my love of Josh Groban.  Recently I attended his concert and was in lala land for a few hours listening to his velvety voice and his witty repartee. What surprised me was how emotional I felt during a few of his songs.  One teary moment was due to a connection the song “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables has with my late father. But the one that really got me was “Children Will Listen” from the Stephen Sondheim musical, “Into the Woods.”

Careful the things you do
Children will see…. and learn….

I have been really struggling lately with Evan’s delayed language development.  Don’t get me wrong. He has come LEAPS and bounds from a few years ago.  He is speaking in short phrases, and he has the capability to speak in longer sentences but it is hard for him to find the right grammatical combination. So he chooses shorter chunks because it is easier and more effective.  A few years ago I would never have thought he could ask me clearly for a certain food, or tell me that he needs to use the potty, or tell me that Melody is funny.

Alas….the perspective of looking back and realizing how far he has come does not come into play most days.  Most days are filled with moments where I feel my stomach twist because I hear a child ask his mom, “Does Evan talk mom? He barely says anything.”  Moments where I watch an adult struggle to connect with Evan because he keeps saying “Hi!” and repeating the same phrase over and over.

But something really struck me at that outdoor concert the other night.  I had a long conversation with my dear friend about Evan and his progress, challenges, strengths. And she said something to the effect of, just because his expressive language is delayed, he UNDERSTANDS. He is listening to everything.  She mentioned how she was trying to engage him in a conversation about his time at school that day, and he just kept repeating the same thing but she said his eyes said a different story.

Children may not obey, but children will listen
Children will look to you for which way to turn…

And she was so right.

He is always listening.

(Well, maybe not when he is on his Ipad and he doesn’t want to come to dinner.)

But children are always listening.

For better or worse.

Think back to your childhood. The memories you have of biting words a peer said to you on the playground.

A phrase your parent uttered in a moment of anger and frustration that you still hold on to 30 years later.

After a tussle with Mommy over leaving the speech therapist's office

After a tussle with Mommy over leaving the speech therapist’s office

Look at his eyes.

They speak volumes when the words couldn’t come.

We went to the zoo recently and I was not looking forward to it because in the past, it has been hard for Evan to connect with the animals because of the distance.  He just didn’t seem to be a “zoo kid.”

But then this happened:

Petting Zoo

Petting Zoo

And not the rough petting he does with Zoey, our very patient choc lab mix.  He was soft petting and smiling and quietly connecting with this goat.

Post petting

Post petting

Just taking it all in. He didn’t want to leave. The complete opposite from years past where he would just run from trash can to trash can to flip the lid or play with the water fountains.

We asked him the goat’s name and he said, “Goaty the Goat!”

HUGE, people.


I didn’t think the zoo would matter to him.

Adults need to listen too.

Children will see….
And learn….

Guide them, but step away

Children will glisten…..


I’m going to try harder, buddy.

To speak more carefully.

To listen to what is not said.

To let you glisten.

To trust.


7 Comments on Children Will Listen…..

  1. Kim Pinckney-Lewis
    August 11, 2016 at 12:17 pm (4 years ago)

    All the tears and all the feels. I can so relate, my twin. But I’m at work and need to get it together. It’s that constant emotional and internal tug of war to be strong and encouraging while sometimes fighting through our own frustrations and heartbreaks when the outside world reminds us of the gaps. But, children do listen…and our boys will grow and triumph along their own path and in their own time. Hugs, my friend!

    • Erin
      August 11, 2016 at 4:11 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you so much twin,for your encouraging and knowing words. You’re the best. Xoxo

  2. Bessie Pinckney
    August 12, 2016 at 9:32 am (4 years ago)

    Tears are flowing inwardly and outwardly because this blog nails it! I love you Erin for being so courageous and informative to raise awareness that we (you, your twin and I) know all too well from personal experience. Children do listen and absorb more than adults are cognizant of. Actions speak louder than words;look into your child’s eyes. They tell the story. Kudos to you and your twin for being such fantastic advocates for your children! Bless you both and your families. <3

    • Erin
      August 13, 2016 at 9:23 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you for your beautiful comment. Kim is a very lucky girl to have you as her model in motherhood. Xoxo

  3. Name*
    August 12, 2016 at 10:45 am (4 years ago)

    Thoughtful ! Wonderful! Understanding!
    And LOVE! Mrs. J

    • Erin
      August 13, 2016 at 9:24 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you so much Mrs. J! You are so encouraging! Xoxo


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