Listening To Jamie
“You never listen to me and you always interrupt!” The slam of her bedroom door, punctuated my 16-year-old daughter’s tirade and gave me the perfect solution.
An old-fashioned, wooden rocking chair was added to my study.
“It’s for you, Jamie. Whenever you want to talk to me, just go and sit there. I’ll find you. And I promise I won’t interrupt.”
She rolled river-tinted eyes, but an hour later, I found her sitting there, hugging a pillow to her chest.
I swallowed my parental pride and frustration, taking the chair behind the desk.
There was silence for a moment.
“I’m having trouble at school.” The sentence came from reluctant lips. “In math. I know you’re a great accountant, but would it kill you to just help me with my homework? I’m flunking school because I hate it there, nothing makes sense! I don’t have any friends and it’s really hard to pray for one because I feel as if I’m always in this battle against the world. Right here is where you’d jump in and interrupt me and start telling me how I need to turn my life around.” Candy-blue eyes flicker upwards to mine before riveting on the floor again. “That’s it.” She slid of the rocking chair and walked out of the room.
I watched her go and took a notepad from my shirt pocket.
Help Jamie with math.
“Dad, I think my boyfriend hates me.” My eyebrows went up and she quickly continued. “All I did was ask him about that presentation we’re supposed to be doing for school and he totally whacked out and started yelling and calling me names and stuff.” She hugged the pillow tighter. “This isn’t the first time he’s done that either. I guess I need to let him go. I was just sort of hanging on to him, because he always listened.”
Jamie half-smiled. “But you’re doing that now.”
I watched her leave again and drew out the little notepad.
Take Jamie to lunch.
“Dad, what does it feel like to hear God? I mean, do you like, hear something, literally, feel something, or do you just like, know, He’s talking to you? I mean, what if He’s talking to me and I’m so busy just piling up all these requests and problems that I can’t even hear the answers to them? Wait. I think I know. Thanks, Dad.”
Jamie slid off the rocking chair and bolted for the stairs.
I drew the notepad from my pocket and penciled in the words.
Pray with Jamie.
“Dad? Man, this is hard. I broke your paperweight. I was going to tell you earlier, but I heard how upset you were. I didn’t know it meant that much, honest! I was trying to leave a card for Groundhog day. I didn’t realize I’d pushed it off the edge. I’m sorry.”
Jamie left the pillow as she slunk out of the room.
I picked up the notepad from the desk.
Wish Jamie Happy Groundhog Day.
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I am rather new to Faith Writers and have been going thru some previous writings. This one is really good. As I reflect back on my teenage years, Oh, How I would loved to have someone to listen to me and answer my questions. Perhaps the parents who read this will take it to heart and listen, it means so much to a teen. (In case you are wondering, I am 79 years of age) I remember very well my teen years.
You portray a real teen. I remember 1981 when my daughter was 15. When my son was 15 in 1990 I tried hard to be a better listener. This is a beautiful article.
Ohhh... I wish I could listen to my teenage daughters more! Excellent article...perfect dialogue. Thanks for sharing it!
This is a sweet story. I like the idea of a rocking chair invitation. And, you create a most realistic teenager. Thank you for connecting us through your comment on my "Free Speech" article. I certainly appreciate it!