It was an early morning call. “I hard boiled two eggs last night but left them on the counter. Are they still OK to eat?” My quick reply reassured my daughter it was probably just fine, but she was hesitant and asked me to Google it. Low and behold, hard-boiled eggs are not recommended for consumption after 2 hours on the counter. Glad she asked me to check. Oops! 🤦♀️
As I hung up the phone, two thoughts ran through my mind. First thought: Our children rarely need us for information as they get older. (What they previously called home to learn how to do can now quite easily be found online.) What our children need us for are the fundamentals of relationship. They need our love. They need our encouragement. They need our faith. They need our wisdom. They need us to listen.
Thought number two was triggered as I contemplated the best way to love my two adult children. In our last staff meeting in OH, a teammate reflected that we go to school to learn how to read and write. We teach children how to speak. There’s money spent every year on speech therapy to make sure children can communicate. Yet somehow, we never prioritize teaching people – kids or adults – how to listen. That thought should stop us in our tracks.
When’s the last time you heard of anyone taking a class on listening?
What good is being able to pronounce words and articulate thoughts if the other person misses what we’re trying to convey?
Listening is a big deal. Listening is what we each need to hone our skills on. Not listening to noise or talking heads on different stations, but listening to real people face-to-face (or Zoom, if COVID insists). And I’m not talking about the ability to repeat back facts… but to listen with our hearts. To listen with our eyes. How does someone’s body language help you understand what they’re communicating?
As we spend more time at home, what would it look like to have conversations where we listened in such a way that the person felt loved, valued, and understood when the conversation is over?
In 2020, we’re facing a year of turmoil. From racial tension to pandemic fears, we can actually help if we learn to ask a question, seek understanding, and be quiet… as we choose to listen with all of who we are.
Who do you need to listen to this week?