Children with special needs long for us to just listen. They want us to really get who they are and understand the pain they have experienced—not so that we can fix them, but so that we can walk with them as they find their own paths through their dark nights.
I also think of, and feel for, all of us—parents, grandparents, therapists, agency workers, teachers—who are called to this journey of caring for these challenging children. Our own souls are soothed when we are deeply listened to by someone who doesn’t try to assure us that things are not as bad as they seem, and who doesn’t offer us the advice we’ve already heard and tried to no avail. As Solo Moms, it makes sense for us to be deeply intentional about finding listeners who know how to, well . . . listen.
There’s a time for problem-solving and advice-giving, and a time for deep listening. What a gift it is when we have someone in our lives who is able to discern the right time for each, or who will simply ask, “What do you need from me right now?”
Do you have a deep listener in your life? If you do, let that person know how much she (or he) is appreciated. If you don’t, find someone who can fill that role, perhaps from a support group or spiritual community. Or maybe you’d like to learn a practice such as focusing or nonviolent communication, both of which will bring you into contact with others who value the healing power of deep listening and empathy.
Whatever road you take, remember that you don’t have to walk it alone. Others are also on the road, some walking ahead, some behind . . . and some who will walk right alongside of you, listening. Treasure them all.
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Beki Sciacca helps parents who are raising challenging children by training them in a relationship-based, trauma-effective parenting model. She has a master’s degree in Communication Science and Disorders and has become the Solo Mom of her two amazing grandchildren.
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