Active Listening Is a Fire Extinguisher
by Linda Goldfarb
My nine-year-old son Sammie whispered as his body leaned in close to mine, “Can you hear it now?”
“No…wait, yes! That was it, right?”
His eyes pierced mine with a don’t-raise-your-voice stare, while the beginning of a smile appeared at the corner of his mouth, confirming his slight nod of affirmation.
Success! I recognized the call of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, which was quite a feat considering the number of birds singing at one time.
“Son, how can you separate all of the birds’ sounds? There are so many, it’s hard for me to hear them separately like that.”
“Simple mom—you just focus your listening.”
Simple? To me it was far from simple and yet for Sammie, it was simple. My nine year old could walk into an aviary and tell you the origin of the birdcalls before seeing one of them.
It’s amazing what we hear when we actively focus our listening.
Think about the last time you sat down with your child or another loved one and focused on what he or she had to say. Can you recall what that moment looked like? If you can’t, no worries, you’re not alone; we’ve all been there.
There is an art to active listening and everyone can benefit from it. By actively listening, you communicate a perceived value. Through your focused attention, the recipient hears, “You’re worthy!”
As a get-er-done, mobilizer personality, my tendency is to speak more than listen. Yet, I’ve found when used intentionally, active listening can extinguish the chance of relational fires within my family. Purposed eye contact, genuine concern, and paying attention to details may require a little more of our time, but the results are worth it.
“If at all possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 NIV
Linda Goldfarb is a wife, mother of four adult children, Maw-Maw to grandchildren of various personalities, award-winning author, international speaker, founder and instructor of Parenting Awesome Kids, Board Certified Advanced Life Coach, Certified Advanced Personalities Trainer and Consultant. www.LivePowerfullyNow.org