“A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,” Proverbs 1:5
When my husband and I started our family, I was already working from home. Because of this set up, I was able to homeschool both our kids. Aside from spending more time with them, I was able to get to know them better as well. On his part, my husband makes sure he spends more time whenever he comes home from work or during the weekends and holidays. We both try our best to raise two GenZ kids.
Our kids were born in 2003 and 2006, and they belong to Generation Z kids.
At the last discipleship congress, Sean McDowell spoke on how we should relate to this new generation. McDowell mentioned that this generation feels overwhelmed, lonely, and pragmatic. As a parent, I felt a sudden urge to hug all the GenZ kids I know. Is this why there is a rise in suicide and depression among teens? This is alarming.
How are we going to help this generation if they already feel overwhelmed by the world? How will they be able to cope if they become adults?
Instead of criticizing them, we should, as parents, LISTEN to them. As Sean says, we should also be able to ask questions without judging. Most of the time, our kids do not open up to us because we do not know how to listen. Our default is to jump to conclusions before even hearing their side.
Josh McDowell, Sean’s dad, said this at the conference,
“It is more important to understand than to be understood.”
And this applies not only to parent and child relationships, but to all relationships.
The other day, I was able to put this into practice.
Raising my GenZ daughter
We discovered in November of last year that our daughter has astigmatism. The ophthalmologist required her to wear eyeglasses, and she can’t wait to put it on. Since then, her eyeglass was glued to her face.
I noticed last Sunday while on our way to church that she was not wearing her glasses. I asked her why she was not wearing it. She said that she will put it on when we arrive at church. The following day was the same. So, I inquired again. Her response was, “I don’t like to wear it.”
This puzzled me because she does not take it off then all of a sudden she doesn’t want it. Being the investigative mom, I prodded some more. So, I asked…“Did anyone comment about your glasses? Or how you look?” “No”, she replied. I continued to question her, but I she didn’t give me a response that made sense to me.
After a few minutes, she confessed that parts of her vision were blurry again. I checked her glasses. I remembered having it fixed last month because the nose pad got detached. That reattachment must have obscured her vision. But she did not tell me.
Wrong View of Self
When I asked her why she did not tell me that she was having problems, she said that she did not want to bother me. I felt bad hearing this and I reassured her that she can always talk to me any time. What hurt me more was when she said, “You and Papa are always busy with chores. I don’t want to bother you… I feel useless.” She cried after saying those words.
I hugged her tight and comforted her. When she calmed down I asked her if I ever said or made her feel useless. She said, no. “Was there any person in this house who said you were useless?” Again, she answered, no.
“Where did you get the idea that you were useless, then?” She said, “That’s how I felt. I don’t know why.” Then, that talk by McDowell made think about how this generation thinks and feels. I hugged her again and so did my husband.
We both assured her that we are always available for her and her brother. Chores can wait. Work can wait. They are more important to us than anything else.
I reminded her that helps me a lot in the house. She has daily tasks and chores that she completes. But I suggested helping me out more in the kitchen, especially in dinner preparations. She agreed. The following day, she was able to cook chayote (sayote) to go with our fish dish. Tonight, I gave her the same task again, to cook dinner and she obliged.
It is very important that our children feel loved at home, and that they can talk to their parents any time. If we fail to listen to them, who will they talk to? We also need to learn to empathize with them. Hey, we were kids too, right? They are not mature to process their feelings. Nor are they equipped to even define their emotion. Let us walk together with our children. Let us love them, help them, and discipline them as well.
About her glasses, the following day I was able to have the nose pad attached correctly at the shop. When she tried it, her face lit. I knew she can see clearly again.