I listened to a journalist tell about his experiences as he reported on the disasters of Haiti. He was there the day after the earthquake happened and saw the devastation that happened from buildings falling down. He helped in the relief effort to find victims hidden under the debris. He and his crew took their microphone and dangled it down amid broken cement slabs, then hushed the crowd so they could listen for cries from any survivors lying below. The first day they heard people crying and yelling from under the crushed stones, but they were helpless to save them. The walls were heavy and impossible to move. There were no heavy equipment machines to move the cement walls.
Each day as they lowered their microphone down the cracks, they would listen for the cries from the people. Each day the cries got fainter and fainter until one day there were no more cries for help. Those standing above the rubble felt helpless and frustrated that they could not save their loved ones.
There are people around us crying for help every day. Do we listen? As parents, our children cry for our love and attention. Do we listen? Babies cry when they are hungry or tired. Children cry when they are scared or hurt. Teenagers cry when they are disappointed or abused. Do we listen?
Do we hush the crowd of noisy voices vying for our attention so we can really listen? Do we stop our busyness with often mundane things so we can listen? Do we look our children in the eye and listen?
We can save our children! We can hear their pleas when they misbehave, when they make messes and when they disobey. We can look beyond the mere words and listen for the true meaning of what they say and do. We can listen for the fear they can't express, the wounds we are unaware of and the anger of their limitations.
We are the parents. Let us listen.