Friday, June 14, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Listen

In college, I took a few counseling courses and many, many, many, social work courses (that is what my degree is in after all).  I recall my very first 
counseling professor handing us the image to the right and explaining to us the power of the act of listening.

The Chinese character for listening includes you, an ear, your eyes, a symbol for king, implying you should treat everyone like a king with your undivided attention, and your heart.

This has never left my memory. As a social worker, when I listen, it is important that I do much more than just hear the words the client is saying.  I must listen to them.  With my eyes. Watching for any non-verbal clues.  My undivided attention must be given to the client speaking to me.  Good eye contact, reflecting non-verbal clues such as nodding and restating what has been said.  I must also listen to my heart, and for me, that means listening to what God says about this particular person or situation.

How much truer is this to me as a parent?  When my child speaks to me, am I really listening?  With my ears, eyes, heart, and undivided attention?  I know it is impossible to do this to every single word my child might say...especially if he is a big talker.  Like talked all 45 minutes on the way home from church last Sunday, big talker.  And I reallllly know it is even harder to listen to everything your child might say when you have more than one aching for your attention to see the latest art creation, hear the latest tale of chivalry, or change their wet diaper.  For the third time. In fifteen minutes.

But those moments when we really can put away distractions of to-do lists, those electronic rectangles that fill our lives, and our own motivations and really, really listen to something our child says usually ends up being their favorite part of their whole day.  It's true.  Ethan has told me that on multiple occasions. Every night we ask him what his favorite part of the day was.  Almost every night his answer involves a moment of the day where Ben or I have been down on his level and listening, in the full meaning of the word.

(This post was inspired by the prompt featured at Five Minute Friday encouraging us to write for five minutes then stop, resist the urge to edit, and share.)

1 comment:

Kim Hyland said...

Thank you for this . . the Chinese image SO full of meaning and admonition. AND the reminder of what a powerful influence we are for good in our children's lives when we really listen!