I find myself saying to the kids the word "Listen" alot. I tell them there is a reason we have 2 ears and one mouth.
But, it had not occurred to me that maybe I might be a better listener too. There was an article in the paper this week about this very subject. It was titled "Learning to Listen".
I didn't realize that there are mental and physical benefits to being a better listener. The author said it is never too late to break a lifetime of bad listening habits and doing so can not only improve your relationships, but also keep you younger, healthier and just plain better all the way around.
Effective listening is about paying attention to body language and tone of voice, it's about being in the moment. I read that listening is the first of our five senses to develop in the womb and the last to leave at death. There's a reason for that: It's the key to human development and how we interact with our environment.
Focused listening can improve lives and and relationships in so many ways. I know I feel respected when I am listened to. There is a certain dignity to being listened to. When we can't connect with the important people in our lives, we suffer, they suffer. In the article it says this: "Poor listening is to blame for many of the headaches and heartaches in our lives, schoolyard and workplace violence, high divorce rate, malpractice suits, dissatisfied customers and other costly mistakes" Listening closely is essential for making all relationships more emotionally satisfying.
One way to be a better listener is to "get into the movie". The way to do this is to forget about yourself, and get into the other person's movie, just like we do when we are at the movies. Deep breathing is a key element of focused listening as well as meditation, because its calming and sends more oxygen to the brain, which increases alertness. Really listening to someone is almost like meditation , and it can have the same beneficial effects of focus and relaxation.
Here are some helpful rules to be a more "mindful listener":
1.) getting the whole message by processing nonverbal cues and pauses as well as spoken words.
2.) maintaining sustained attention.
3.) making the speaker feel valued and respected.
4.) listening to what you say yourself when you speak.
Quieting the mind is basic to good listening and allowing silence is a great habit to develop and so worthwhile.
I am sure I need to work on all these points.
Maybe I haven't been so mindful with these children. Maybe their listening skills are just a reflection of the habits that've developed as a result of our hectic days...who has the time? I'm going to try to be more aware now. I want to be the one they say (or feel) really listened to them. I very much do.
Isn't that all we really want anyway? to be heard. really heard. and understood.