Honey, we need to talk
"So when you are listening to somebody, completely,
attentively, then you are listening not only to the
words, but also to the feeling of what is being
conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it."
We may be listening... but are we actually
Too often, we may find ourselves speaking to
someone who is so busy thinking about what they are
going to say next that they don't hear what's being
said. Have our lives become so mentally cluttered
that we don't have time to really hear? Or do we
hear the words but miss the meaning because we are
thinking about something else, or we assume we
already know what that person is trying to tell us?
How could we know what they haven't finished
Let's pay attention to something our child,
spouse or friend finds important to share with us.
It's not difficult to set aside a few moments of
undivided attention to open our mind and heart,
take sincere interest, be fully present and HEAR
what they have to say.
Body language and facial expression can add
another dimension to what is being said. Becoming
sort of "connected" with the speaker allows us to
get a peek of what's behind their words, where
truths reside. Then not only do you hear the words,
but also whether or not they are sincerely
Not now... later... got more important things...
not enough time.... too tired... too busy.... tv
show is on...
If not now, WHEN???
I can remember times, as a teenager about a
million years ago, when I wanted so badly to be
heard...not told what I was supposed to think, but
be given the opportunity to express my own unique
views and feel valued as an individual. If parents
aren't willing to listen to their kids, someone
else will be...and not necessarily with good
intentions. So I went out of my way to encourage my
own kids to talk.
Listening can be one of the most valuable skills
a person can learn. If face-to-face conversation is
awkward at first, try turning off the television
and play a board game together. It's amazing how
much connecting and sharing can happen with your
opponent while jumping checkers or sinking
battleships... (beware of the Hungry Hippos,
though, no human voice can be heard over those)
Cooking together is another good activity to
open up communication. Then there's eating
together, or fishing, walking, a ride in the car,
working on art projects, weeding the garden, gazing
at the stars, and a list that could go on and on of
things that could be done together while
encouraging discussion about anything and
everything or nothing in particular.
So turn off your computer now and go challenge
your kid (or spouse or parent or whomever) to a
conversation-provoking game of scrabble...or build
a birdhouse together... plan a trip... bake a batch
of snickerdoodles... conduct a science
experiment... plant a tree...go bug catching... But
most importantly, LISTEN. You may learn a whole lot
that you didn't know before.
What? Huh? Oh, sorry honey... I wasn't
©2011, Mary Lou
* * *
Mary Lou St.
Lucas is a former stay-at-home mom who has
participated in custody and divorce-related support
groups. She often speaks out through impassioned
letters to local newspapers regarding issues
affecting quality of life for children and
families. She has experienced divorce, including
the heartbreaking decision to give up daily contact
with her two sons for what she believed was their
best interest at that time, as well as the societal
stigma attached to being a non-custodial mother.
She emphasizes the importance of kids having BOTH
parents in their lives on a regular basis, even if
the parents cannot or will not be married anymore.
She hopes other parents will see that there may be
alternatives to the standard custody arrangements,
depending on the individual situation. She writes
from her perspective of today instead of revisiting
and dwelling on the painful emotions of her past.
She strives to live a full life in spite of a
recent diagnosis of fibromyalgia, and believes a
sense of humor is mandatory. mlstuff.blogspot.com/2007/08/male-bashing-t-shirts.html
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