Recently, I found myself trapped in a hallway with a coworker who likes to talk.
He launched into a long story about his kids, his weekend plans, his new project, his car trouble, and his recent injury. I felt as if it would never end. I was smiling and nodding, but I wasn’t really listening. I was thinking about all the work I had to get done.
Later that day, I felt terribly guilty for not having listened attentively. I ended up talking to him again after work, and I was stunned when he thanked me for being such a good sounding board. I didn’t feel that I was at all.
Since then, I’ve been trying my best to actively listen to others in my circles.
It seems our world is fighting to be heard. But there is power in listening. In fact, we may say MORE by listening. Listening tells people that they matter and worthy of your time and attention. When we listen, we have the opportunity to hint at our confident identity and willingness to put others first. Listening is foreign to the world at large. Maybe that’s why it’s so effective.
While working in a First-Grade classroom this week, I heard the teacher ask the class, “Do you have your listening ears on?" Maybe that’s a question we should ask ourselves at the start of each day.