I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2019 (all of my submissions can be found here).
Today’s prompt is: LISTEN
“Listen, you need to think about that decision really hard.”
There’s a figure of speech where we use “listen” in that way. It’s the first word of the sentence, a direction, a command. It’s the kind of thing we say when we are positive the other person should see things our way.
Consider a situation after a public hazard caused an accident.
“Listen, that intersection has been a problem for years. The police department documented a 50% higher rate of accidents there. Obviously there would be a fatality sooner or later.”
This is a situation where a word has evolved to mean something else than is intended (in my opinion). We want the person’s attention. While we do want them to listen, it’s more for informational purposes (and to reinforce the fact that we are right).
True listening, at least the way I see it, is an act that requires discipline, compassion and patience.
Also, in this world of electronic communication, that discipline, compassion and patience need to extend to our screens and keyboards.
Truly taking the time to let someone lay out their concerns and challenges and fears is a rare gift we should give one another more often. As I learned in years of telephone counseling, it also requires opening our mouths at points in the conversation to help things along by asking open-ended questions that will elicit more than a “yes” or “no.”
Listen, being available for someone else is as good for us as it is for them.