Thursday, 6 January 2011

Stop and Listen

The book of James, chapter one, verse 19 tells us that “Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger”. I find that I am slowest to speak when I am formulating the brilliant insights that I wish to share while the other person is talking. I am also assuming that being quick to listen does not mean tune out or interrupt the other person in mid-sentence.

Each day, I receive an e-mail from Family Life entitled “Moments with You”. A recent e-mail included the following story:
"A group of carpenters building an icehouse in the north country of Canada was taking a lunch break when a boy came upon them and heard their conversation. One was bemoaning a watch he had lost at some point in the morning’s work. Though he’d looked for it for a couple of hours, he hadn’t been able to find it.
"Would you mind if I went into the ice house and looked?" the boy asked. "Yeah, sure," the men laughed, certain he’d never find anything in a dark room with no electricity. Within 30 seconds, the boy emerged holding the watch in his hand. The carpenters couldn’t believe it! "How did you find it?"
"It was simple," the boy said. "I just stopped in the middle of the room, stood still and listened for ticking."

This Moment went on to say “Many of us (especially us men) are rightly accused of not listening very well. We rarely stop and take time to focus our attention--to really hear--what our spouse is trying to tell us. Instead, we quickly say things like, "That’s dumb, honey. You shouldn’t feel that way. You’re blowing this all out of proportion." Those are statements that come from not really seeking to listen and understand where our wife or husband is coming from.

During serious conversations or conflicts, we need to stop and listen, ask questions or paraphrase what our spouse is saying in order to understand what he or she really means. Asking a good question can often be like an emotional crowbar to dislodge how somebody really feels.
In each of these Moments to You they include a discussion question. This particular message included the following questions: “The person who says, "You’re not listening to me," is usually right. How often are these words spoken between you? What is one habit you can change to become a better listener?”

Listening is another way of saying, "You’re important to me, and I love you."

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