Monday, August 11, 2008

Are You Listening???

Several years ago, my boss at the time, was standing beside my desk. He was saying some things (I could hear him!) and I continued press forward on the work at hand which he needed. All of a sudden I hear...did you get that...I 'hear' him say loudly and very empahatically..."Barbara. Do you hear me?"

I stopped what I was doing and looked up at him...not even a foot away from me and said "Yes. You said..."and I repeated everything he said to me...I think word for word! He said, "Well, you weren't looking at me!" Oh my goodness. I didn't think I had to do that with adults. That is what children need. They need for you to look at them to be assured that you are really hear them.

I guess some adults have not had a good experience with people who really listen! They really do not trust that they have your attention if you are not actively looking them in the eye! Really not their fault. I was raised in a family that listened to each other. And by doing that...we learned to listen to others. They were probably raised in a family where that was not something that happened often.

Listen. What does that mean? MSN Encarta Dictionary says: "Listen. Make conscious effort to hear. Pay attention." OK I get that. But what does conscious mean? They say, "Awake; keenly aware. Fully appreciating the importance of something." Humm. That was interesting to me. I get the fact that it takes work to listen. When we listen, we need to make an effort. A conscious effort...We need to hear...fully appreciating the importance of what people are saying. Well now. I have always thought myself a pretty good listener...but now as I think about it...perhaps my skills need honed just a bit. I guess I really wasn't listening to my boss. I was hearing but not really listening!

I try very hard to listen to what people are saying. I even try to understand why they are saying what they are. But I have let that effort part slide a bit...not fully appreciating what they say. You know...what I say to people I feel is important. I hope they listen. And I need to offer them the same by listening to them and appreciating what they have to say.

I don't want to say to people, "Do you hear me? Do you hear what I am saying? And I need to tell people more often...I hear what you are saying.

Stop and think about the people you really really like. Why do you like them?.........I bet if we really think about it, it is because they listen to you. They care what we are saying. By listening...we know they care, and we all want to be cared about.

We all want to be cared about. It is important to each of us. And Mr. Rogers, as he said in the quote above, was right. Listening is one of the most important things we can do for one another. Because listening is where caring begins.

It is somewhat like love. You can give without loving. But you can't love without giving.

You can hear without caring............

But can you care without listening?

Listening and hearing. There is a difference. A BIG difference.

Are you listening????

My thought for the day.



Demented said...

I hear ya! LOL. I can relate. Especially with my kids. You learn a fine art as a parent of tuning out a lot of what they say. My kids constantly are saying, 'Mom, did you even hear what you just said 'Yes' to?

Terry said...

I love it! I think Craig has selective hearing? Or is he listening???

Benjaman said...

For me I take it a step further and am constantly asking do you understand or do you know what I mean. Maybe, that's my way of making sure that the listener is in fact paying attention. And Barb I do believe you have it right when you say that people who need reassurance that their listener is paying attention probably were raised in households where it was hard to be heard.

Another excellent blog posting Barb!!