“Listen to me, Mom!”
“I am listening, honey.”
“No, you’re not.”
“Yes, I am. I’ve heard every word you said.”
“But, Mom, I need you to listen with your eyes.”
Mom then sets aside her work, turns to her child, and listens with her eyes.
This story, shared in a training session for social workers and foster and adoptive parents, drove home that everyone, not just children, need to know beyond any doubt we value and hear them.
In our multi-tasking world we must regularly ignore everything else and focus totally on the person before us. During those special blocks of time, we hear not only the words but a far greater message, revealing the emotions behind those words.
If individuals have had a bad day, they free themselves of a negative outlook by addressing their trials and knowing someone understands and cares. Laughing together over something silly they said or did creates stockpiles of goodwill to help weather future misunderstandings. Discussing warm fuzzies about nothing accomplishes the same goal. Serving as an accountability partner and encouraging them when they’ve demonstrated care for others energizes a lifestyle of service.
On the flip side of accountability, if they confess poor decisions and express remorse, our forgiveness and unconditional love gives a glimpse of God’s agape love. In the process, we strengthen the individual’s sound judgment, self-discipline, and sense of responsibility.
When we give undivided attention—with our eyes and our ears—the people around us feel respected and encouraged to share their inner concerns and desires. We also model the kind of listening God stands ready to give. God always hears our prayers. His attentiveness to our needs is both watchful and perfect.
Let’s love and listen the way God loves and listens to us. Let’s remember and remind others God always hears and responds with our best interests at heart.
(Photo courtesy of office.microsoft.com.)
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