Monday, June 22, 2009

SWB: Listening

Image found at Gaiafield Project.

When I was in grade school I remember getting a consistent mark on my report card throughout my primary years. One particular teacher comment usually had something to do with my penmanship. I remember trying so hard to achieve the perfect slat to my cursive letters, but due to the fact that I was left-handed and my letters were to tall and straight - I would end up with an A- or a B+ in penmanship. The other, actually more common comment went something like this..." Tara is a bright student, but is distracted easily by continually talking with her neighbors."

From day one, talking is something I was good at. My mom used to tell me before and after social and extended family gatherings..." Tara, you don't have to tell everyone your whole life story!"

By the status of my childhood report cards as well as my tendency to chat to strangers in line at the grocery store... I'm a talker. Always have been and probably will always be a talker. Maybe it has something to do with my Welsh ancestry? Our family gatherings were loud with voice and hand talking. I remember having to shout to be heard in conversation at my grandparents home sometimes. So if this is what I witnessed and learned as I child, how can people expect anything different now. Right?

I've be working on being a better conversation partner though. I try to ask others the who, what, where, when, why and how questions in order to draw them into conversation. I no longer hold my hand up in the air when I have an answer to a question and mumble "Me! Me!" under my breath. Well, most of the time I don't.

I love to learn and be involved in conversations that develop my mind and abilities - maybe conversation is my way of learning best?

Last week, I met a new friend who had the ability of drawing me into conversation and helping me to really listen. I wanted to be a polite host to this visitor, and due to that I was better able to listen, ask questions and become aware of some important things.

1. Too often I allow the word "can't" to stop me from pursing my hopes and dreams.
Instead of hitting a dead end, I need to ask 'how' can this obstacle be overcome and not assume that it is an impossibility.

2. I need to better discern and digest the fact that I was created with a G-d given purpose and intent. I need to listen for whispers of direction before charging ahead in all directions at once.

3. Active thankfulness is a practice that I need to, well, practice. I need to thank the Creator for the food before me, the blessings of family and friends and all the needs that are provided for me daily, as well as pray for that blessing for those in the world that do not have these gifts.

4. Also, here is a tough one. I need to be better present to the moment I'm in as well as better be able to use my gift of gab to tell those around me how much their love and encouragement mean to me. This, I suppose is a part of active thankfulness as well.

Listening to my new friend helped me become aware of some internal needs in my life, and now that the direction seems clearer, I can use my voice to follow through in adding to the positive influence in others lives.

Listening led to learning, which led to reflection, which (hopefully) will lead to the verbalization and action that promotes the positive and quiets to all to often loud voice of the negative. Talking is good as long as listening and speaking are parts of the conversation - for all parties involved.

Psalm 19:14 (NIV) May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Imagine, words can become the foundation we build our lives upon. Negative foundations lead to collapse, where positive bases lead to reaching the heavens. Let's listen, then speak and maybe, just maybe we can reach the sky.


Mel said...

Well said--and well written.

Equally, well received.

Listening is one of those things I can always, always improve on.

Lamont said...

Thanks Mel - I've been feeling a little stuck in writing lately not because I am lacking a subject, I feel I have too many places to start.

I think this entry was one way to get my writing ball rolling again.

Mary-LUE said...

I'm the same way with the talking. I do believe that I am also a good listener but I do realize sometimes in the middle of a conversation sometimes that I've been doing ALL the talking. It all just seems to bubble right out of me.

I'm glad you had such a growing conversation!

P.S. I'm a lefty, too, but I always got an N in penmanship... Needs to Improve!