“Mom, mom, mom…”
imagine the above phrase in a calm tone…it’s mellow, right?
now imagine it in a loud, freaking out, excited-hear-me-now-or-i-will-implode-explode-tone.
pretty nerve wrecking, right? words like: frustrating, irritated, annoyed, etc. might come to mind and create sudden facial ticks resembling The Hulk in a lot of people.
now, imagine it with 6 children 20 times per hour for about 16 hours in a single day.
when this is happening to me, i think…okay, i can overreact and turn into The Hulk or be the peaceful and mild-mannered Bruce Banner. you wanna know what happens? well, if i remember, i pray. if i don’t remember to pray, well, you probably saw the movie…anyways…
kidding aside, the more my children experience this dialectic stage…where they connect and critique ideas — asking questions to clarify every bit of information that crosses their craniums by discussing, analyzing, debating, verbally exploring and sharing them in various tones and body languages…the more i’m learning how important it is to just listen.
listening is difficult.
have you ever looked up the word? definitions are extremely important. here it is:
“to give attention to someone or something in order to hear him, her, or it” -Cambridge English Dictionary.
i often find myself trailing off in a maze of self-absorbed thoughts ready to retort: “here’s my advice”, or “i wouldn’t do or think that”, “i know…been there, done that” when all i’m called to do is just listen. listening is an action, like love. in fact, listening is a great fraction of love. here’s what the poet, Alice Duer Miller, said about listening:
“Listening is not merely not talking, though even that is beyond most of our powers; it means taking a vigorous, human interest in what is being told us. You can listen like a blank wall or like a splendid auditorium where every sound comes back fuller and richer.”
imagine the beauty of being present, the rewards of giving time to a relationship. when I am patient and mindful of my actions to fully honor my husband, my children, my friends and family with the gift of listening, the reward is exceptional — the speaker is bonded to you, they are understood, and they feel validated. even though you may not agree with them, even though they did not ask for your expertly-age-defying wisdom, and even though they will probably change their ideas tomorrow — the gift of listening is a treasure to the receiver and to the giver.
when I am not patient and mindful of my actions towards every and all peoples, and I don’t honor others before myself, well, i’m just smashing…in a Hulkish sort of way. pray for me!