I have to admit I don’t always listen very well. Sometimes others are telling me their story and I’m thinking of what I will say in response and not always tuning in completely. I remember when the children were little, one of their comments was “Mommy, you’re not listening with your eyes”.
Listening is a skill that can be developed. In order to hear what the other person is really saying take time to listen – to be willing to give of your time and attention. You can show you are listening by nodding, smiling, making eye contact, or showing other ways of paying attention. Asking questions helps to clarify points. The art of communication has not died. It is a two-way street though- someone needs to talk and someone to listen intently.
The ability to listen does influence quality of life as well as the lives of those around us. When listening to your children, make it absolutely clear that the only thing that really matters at that time is what is being said. Ask questions if you don’t understand. Listen not only with your eyes but with your heart as well.
One of our authors, Robert Bohlken, is a listening expert and has written a book for children that enhances reading and listening skills. The stories in the book, Listening to the Mukies and Their character Building Adventures are set in a primitive society, but their problems and conflicts are much like our own. The stories are intended to be read aloud between adult and child. This encourages much sharing of thoughts, ideas and feelings about issues that concern children. There is room for discussion, such as, “if you were in this situation, what would you do?” “Do you think this is the only solution?” “Can you think of other ways to solve this?”
To learn more about this book, go to Listening Stories and Lessons.
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