I have been learning how to be a good listener. One of the best clues I have gotten has been to not judge people while they are talking but instead to listen with wonder. Thinking in terms of wonder while I am listening makes it much easier for me to really pay attention to what is being said. I wonder what it is like to be...
Very few people really want you to offer them an opinion. What I also think is interesting about that is very few people actually need my opinion. The opinion we need is the Lord's thoughts and guidance. It seems that as the issue at hand is discussed that often the answer is discovered by the speaker. Sometimes when you listen well. people will invite you to probe with them into new territory. Again not taking control of the conversation but just going where they need to go to discover what they need to discover. Maybe it's wisdom or perspective or hope or how to love.
Sometimes these conversations have an obvious end. There is no more humanly speaking to talk about. There will be no more benefit from talking. And that is my favorite time to then bow our heads and hearts and pray together. To thank God for any help that has come in the conversation and to give up to Him the yet undiscovered answers.
Now that I've been listening to a lot of different people for a while, I am starting to hunger for the ability to ask good or helpful questions. That will be the next focus of my training in listening.
Still realizing that just because you've thought of a good question you may need to wait to ask it somewhere down the line.
I really do think the world would be a better more loving place if there is an increase in good listeners in the world.
To all of you who have spent your time listening to me to help me grow in faith, hope and love... thank you!