Did you know that you can shape a life with your words? So much of your satisfaction and success in life is determined by how well you communicate with people — especially when it comes to parenting. In this message, Pastor Rick Warren will teach you how to L.I.S.T.E.N. so that your kids will speak up, and how to S.P.E.A.K. so that your kids will listen.

Look at them with love

“Jesus felt genuine love for the man as he looked straight at him.”  Mark 10:21

“God has given us eyes to see with and ears to listen with.” Prov. 20:12 (TEV)

Invest in as much time as needed

“When Job’s three close friends heard of the tragedy Job had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him. . . Then they sat on the ground with Job silentlyfor seven days and nights. And no one said a word, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.” John 2:11-13 (NLT)

Share their feelings, not your solution

“Anyone who answers quickly without listening first is both foolish  and insulting.”  Proverbs 18:13 

“Mary fell at Jesus’ feet and cried out, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’  When Jesus saw her weeping, along with many others, he was deeply moved. ‘Where have you buried his body?’ he asked.  ‘Come and see, Lord’ they replied. Jesus wept. Then the people said, “Look how deeply he loved him!” John 11:32-36

Tune into any fear or hurt beneath the words

“. . . Be sympathetic, loving each other like family, and be kind and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8

“. . . we must bear the ‘burden’ of being considerate of the doubts and fears of others . . .

“Let’s please the other fellow, not ourselves, and do what is for his good and thus build him up in the Lord.” Romans 15:2 (LB)

Engage them with open-ended questions

“People’s thoughts are like water in a deep well, but someone with insight can draw them out.”  Proverbs 20:5 (TEV)

Never judge anything until you have all the facts

“What a shame–yes, how stupid!–to decide before knowing the facts!. . .  A person with understanding gets the facts and the wise person listens to  learn more.”  Proverbs 18:13+15  (LB/NCV)

Action Plan: Identify which part of LISTEN you need to work on and focus on being intentional in that area this week. Enter into conversations specifically with this area in mind.


Save it for the best time & place

“There is a time to be silent and there is a time to speak.”  Ecclesiastes 3:7 (NCV)

“There’s a right time and a right way for everything, even though, unfortunately, we miss it for the most part.”  Ecclesiastes 8:6 (Mes)

Pray and plan

“Jesus said, ‘I have not spoken on my own power. Instead, the Father who sent me told mewhat I should say AND  how I should say it.”‘ John 12:49 (GW)

“Intelligent people think before they speak; then what they say is morepersuasive.”  Proverbs 16:23 (TEV)

“Everything you say should be kind and well thought out so that you know how to answer everyone.” Colossians 4:6 (GW)

Empathize with their needs first

Speak. . . only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

Affirm the positive alternative

“When wise people speak, they make knowledge attractive.” Proverbs 15:2 (TEV) 

“A mature person is known for his understanding.  The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.”  Proverbs 16:21 (TEV)

 “We have this HOPE as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure!” Hebrews 6:19 (NIV)

Keep calm & don’t argue

“Those who are sure of themselves do not talk all the time, and people who stay calm have real insight.” Proverbs 17:27 (TEV)

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  James 1:19 (NIV)

Action Plan: Identify which part of SPEAK you need to work on and focus on being intentional in that area this week. Enter into conversations specifically with this area in mind.