Sunday, December 5, 2010

Learn to Listen, Listen to Learn

Image courtesy Creative Commons License by gari baldi/ thomas mues May 2004

The other day I was at a Pack Meeting and I was talking to a cub scout and all of a sudden another adult came over and I did a horrible thing. I stopped listening to the child and listened to the adult. Usually if 2 children do this, it's not a problem... I can listen to 2 talk at the same time and carry out multiple conversations.
Of course, at times I do have to hold up the "one moment finger".
And really, I should have done that to the adult.
I have no explanation for what I was thinking.
No clue.
I did immediately recognize what I did as wrong and apologized within 1 minute. But I could tell our conversation was done.
Until I brought up a "skinning squirrel" story that I happened to have up my sleeve for exact moments like this.
Bless you Ryan Hansen and all Boy Scouts with possible hyperactivity issues.
A smile returned, but oh if I had just done what I was supposed to.
To what I'm committed to.

Listening to children.

I, of course, can not put it as well as the apostles. Hello, I have to add in bits of squirrel skinning to get a point across. But Elder Russel M. Nelson has said,

"Parents and teachers, learn to listen, then listen to learn from children. A wise father once said, "I do a greater amount of good when I listen to my children than when I talk to them... The time to listen is when someone needs to be heard.

Children are naturally eager to share their experiences, which range from triumphs of delight to trials of distress. Are we as eager to listen? If they try to express their anguish, is it possible to listen openly without going into a state of shock ourselves? Can we listen without interrupting and without making snap judgements that slam shut the door of dialogue?

Wise parents and teachers, listen to learn from children."
(From Perfection Pending and Other Favorite Discourses)

I have a Primary friend with ADD. Letting him draw star wars pictures really helps him relax and stay calm in Primary. But I've also found he likes to talk about them. Can it be a little distracting... you betcha. But I know that he needs a listening ear. He needs to educate me about Jango Fett? and I need to learn, because really I don't know a single thing about Star Wars. Barbie movies, covered. (Yes, I full on cried during Barbie Island Princess) Darth Maul, not so much.

I'm not doing the topic justice. So I'll just leave you with the profound words of the Savior Himself. Ponder this and understand what it truly means to listen,

"Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear."
Isaiah 65:24


Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for this. I've been trying to get my teacher to understand this exact thing.

Thank you for the quote, I know remember hearing that but I'm forgetting where I heard it. Was it April Conference???

Henckel House said...

Thank you I needed this. Sometimes I forget how heartily I need to listen to my dear sweet children.

Kathleen said...

Thank you Sofia, I really need to pay better attention to everyone, children especially. At this time of year, I tend to withdraw some because my brain is on overload and it seems like everyone wants something from me from accompaniment on the piano, party food assignments, cleaning the church, etc. Children especially get lost in the shuffle. Thank you for the reminder! I'm going to try to pay better attention.

East Meets West said...

Beautifully said - thank you.