The Art of Listening
Sometimes we forget how meaningful it is to others to have someone who truly listens. I think I am a sensitive person but a horrible listener. I am always on the run - not necessarily physically but mentally. My mind races as I try hard to listen. This mostly happens to me with adults. I tend to slow down with students and be a listener and observer. Recently, my daughter wrote about http://thisjustina.tumblr.com/post/17790005363/i-ate-my-foot-again the topic of speaking before thinking and trying to listen more. It got me thinking.
My thinking was enhanced by the following conversation during a phone call with a cousin. She simply asked, “How is school?” When I said, “This week was great, but last week was really tough.” She paused and said, “Really, why so?” Everything about her response was so genuine, the tone of her voice, her pause, and her words, that it gave me pause. We talked on. She listened, questioned and responded when appropriate.
When our conversation was over, what I learned was to slow down and listen harder, to give my total attention to the person talking. Listening is more than just eye contact, it is our voice tone, it is our quiet, it is the right question, it is our body language, and it is not having our phones or computer screens take our attention.
Thanks to all of you who are skilled at listening and care enough to make a difference for all you touch by taking the time to truly do so. If I slow down, I will learn from each of you.