BE CALM – “Please listen…..”

Listen To Me Sign Shows Notice Or Message - Sacred Structures by Jim Baker  : Sacred Structures by Jim Baker

“Mummy, Ife put earrings in my ear”  Pete, my two year old son said as we drove home from a church service.

Why would she do that? I asked thinking that he meant Ife tried to make him wear earrings. “Didn’t she know you are a boy” I added and everyone in the car laughed over it and that was all.

Fast forward 3 days after, I put my son in the bath tub for a bath  to prepare him for school.  As I washed his face he screamed in pain. When I asked what was the matter. He said “Mummy but I told you that Ife put earrings in my ear”. Then it dawned on me that what my son had been trying to tell me was that Ife, my friend’s daughter had inserted earrings right into his ear. I checked his left ear with a torchlight and lo and behold I saw faintly (glittering) an earring in his ear. It must have sunk deeper in the three days because I noticed the swelling on his outer ear close to his jaw.  I felt really ashamed as a mother. I had failed to listen to my son. Of course, we ended up at the operating theatre . Imagine what would have happened if it was more serious.

The biggest problem in communication is not the language but often we listen not to understand but to respond. What a mess we all make of communication. If only we will listen more, there will be less quarrels in homes, offices etc. Listening, like all skills require learning. Unfortunately it is not taught in school. In studying the skills to effective communication 4 major areas stand out; writing, reading, speaking and listening. Incidentally while the first three are taught in schools listening is often taken for granted.

Listen to me 6 ways help kids with adhd follow directions by jpg - Clipartix

Listening is an art that we must learn to cultivate in life. Have you ever wondered why a man has two ears and one mouth? I guess it is so he can listen  twice more than he speaks. Many times when we listen well enough, we find the answers to the questions in our heart taken care of. One must listen rightly, thoughtfully, effectively, intelligently, unassumingly and calmly. If you want to be a good listener you have to cultivate the habit of effective listening. 

Most relationships including marriages fail today because we are all speaking and no one is listening. Often times we pretend to be listening while all we are doing is waiting to respond or react. Our responses are so formed in our hearts that even if the issue was attended to, we will still would go ahead to speak. Some times we just respond or react to a phrase in the conversation and leave out the substance.

 All relationships thrive on effective listening rather than speaking.  A fool who keeps quiet and listen more than he speaks is considered wise while the wise man who talks more than he listen becomes a fool in the multitudes of his words. Many times we do not even listen to our spirit or conscience. It is not surprising that often when a negative incident occurs in our lives we recalled how ”some thing warned us” and we always ended with the phrase “if only i had listen”. That “something” was God silently speaking to us but we failed to listen.

Making a decision to listen effectively  is the choice of the wise and he will only get wiser. “Let everyone (therefore) be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listeners}, slow to speak{a speaker of carefully chosen words}, slow to anger {patient, reflective, forgiving…” (James 1;19 Amp).

The first step to becoming a good listener begins with a conscious decision to change. Having taken that decision then you can do the following:

  1. Exercise patience: A good listener must first seek to understand and so must wait patiently for the speaker to conclude speaking, establish that he has concluded, pause and then respond.
  2. Focus: All attention must be towards the person who is communicating with you. It is not the time to multitask.
  3. Maintain eye contact. It is not enough to focus, you must maintain eye contact. If I had looked at my son when he was reporting the earring incident, I would have observed his pain or probably noticed that he was touching his ear.
  4. Maintain a positive posture. Do not turn your back on the person who is communicating with you.
  5. Wear an expression that shows that you are not just listening but also following the discussion. You may need to nod occasionally, smile or express surprise where required.
  6. Ask questions to clarify that you understand what is being communicated. Avoid assumptions or jumping into conclusion.
  7. Take notes. This is crucial particularly for young executives. Never ever enter a conversation with your boss or supervisor without a note pad.

To become  good listeners we must learn to keep ourselves in the background. Developing the art of listening is a personal responsibility for everyone. Parents to children, teachers to students and vice versa, subordinates to supervisors. Whether horizontal or vertical communication, effective listening habit will help to foster better understanding and excellent results.

Beyond listening to people around us, our colleagues, supervisors and friends, we must develop the art of listening to ourselves. Man is basically a spirit being. He has a soul and lives in a body. All of these parts of man communicates and when we learn the art of listening or silence we are able to pick the signals early and avoid pitfalls in life. For example your body tells you when to slow down and pay attention to a failing health. Your spirit guides you and prevent you from making some mistakes in what some people call intuition. God speaks to man through His Spirit to the spirit in him. To pick God’s signal in your spirit, you must grow in relationship with Him. That relationship if carefully nurtured will guide you always and ensure you are continuously guided.

Listening effectively is a life saving habit that must be cultivated, learnt, developed and nurtured. Happy listening.

Adenike Babajamu (September, 2020)

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