One of the things I have learned over the years while working with young adults is the importance of listening.
I can imagine right now some people laughing at this statement …. thinking to themselves, Young people don’t listen, but I can tell you with absolute surety… that they would be wrong.
Young people do listen.
And when I was having my most trying days: the end of my marriage, the loss of my beloved nephew, it was in their concerned, caring, and focused attention on my well-being, where I found my solace.
As an adult, we often lose this quality of living “present” in the moment.
And though I am good at saying to my students, when they are desperate to share with me, “Wait. Hang on… let me put this aside… I want to give you my full attention right now because I can see that this conversation is very important to you…” I often do not show this same kindness to those I love at home.
Driven by emotion, caught up in my own needs and wants, I sometimes fight to be heard, sure that what I have to say is absolutely the most important thing.
Today, I am reminded that a conversation is a dialogue between two people.
That both of us have a right to be truly heard.
That sometimes… it is more important to listen than to speak.
That by only caring about my side of the conversation, only waiting for my words to have meaning… I will not learn how to build solid relationships of trust and compassion with the people I love or find out what they really want or need.
“Dear God, help me to listen. Help me to see that for me to be heard, I must be willing to listen to those who so desperately need to be heard around me.”