Learning to listen can be a challenge if you are used to speaking just to hear yourself speak. The truth is, the real school of life is learning from others and experiences along with the lessons that life give us.
I receive daily inspiration from a bible app I have on my phone. It was no accident that two scriptures relating to listening were the scriptures of the day two days in a row:
“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”
Proverbs 17:28 KJV
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”
James 1:19 KJV
In this world of technology based communication, it is difficult to acquire the discipline of listening. We all struggle with understanding the importance of listening and embracing life in the moment. We have adapted to a “microwave popcorn” communication style. Our instructions in life for communication is to listen more than we speak. There is no time limit on true communication.
Imagine your conversations with others. Do you let them finish the sentence every time? Most of us are so accustomed to jumping in with opinions, we don’t even know when a sentence ends in a conversation. How can we learn from those who have wisdom and knowledge to share if we can’t stop ourselves from speaking?
Personal Example Moment:
I received a call from my son’s school. The teacher provided a vague explanation that we needed to discuss his performance. Immediately I became defensive on the call. She assured me she would explain everything once I was in the office.
When I arrived, I had a list of questions and concerns. The teacher tried to explain my sons learning challenges within the group setting. She was trying to suggest additional tutoring to reinforce the classroom teaching. Since my defense was up. I was unwilling to listen.
After a few days, I was able to digest what she was trying to tell me. I understood she was helping my son. She just wanted my permission to continue. We were able to work together as a team to create a learning solution for my son to ensure his success.
By not listening, I prolonged my sons path to success. I also frustrated myself and the teacher for no reason at all. I learned a valuable lesson about listening in this example.
Part of embracing life is understanding the value of life lessons. As we are evolving communication styles, we need to understand that listening is fundamental in communications. Learning to communicate effectively is a valuable life resource. Especially if we don’t want to miss opportunities to learn and grow.
Juanita Espino B.S. Comm., M.A.Ed.
Communications Consultant and Professional Advisor