Lead with Your Ears
"Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear." James 1:19 MSG
Thoughts for Today
When your aging parents do or say something you don't understand—or perhaps even feel offended by—think about what might be going through their minds. Talk to them and ask questions. Lead with your ears, not your tongue.
As you provide care or assistance for your parents (or another loved one), be sure to consider their perspective. Ask God to help you see things through their eyes. Doing so can help you be more sensitive to their needs and better know how to help.
Consider what may be going through your parents' minds. They may be afraid of diminishing mental and physical abilities, concerned about being a burden to you and the rest of the family, or fearful of dying. They probably fear losing their independence or losing all control over their lives. Many older adults who lived through the Great Depression may fear spending money and worry about depleting their life savings. They may fear the future and the loneliness it could bring. The list goes on and on.
When your parents face a challenge, don't treat them differently—treat the circumstances differently. Assure them that your love and your respect stay the same. One important way to demonstrate that love and respect is to "lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.
Remind them that you are with them no matter what—and even more importantly, that God will never leave them nor forsake them.
Father, help me to be more sensitive to my parents' needs. Teach me to listen to them with my ears … and with my heart. In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from…
Caregiving: Caring for Aging Parents by Charles Puchta. The purpose of this curriculum is to provide hope and direction to those concerned about the health and well-being of aging parents or an ill spouse or relative. We address predominate issues most families face. Each session is designed to discuss a specific area of concern such as the purpose of a caregiver or end-of-life planning. It will become clear to participants that the Bible provides encouragement and direction to help them through this caregiving journey. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a study for individuals or couples.
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