In Others’ Words: Ears

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“Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble.” ~ Frank Tyger (1929-2011), nationally published editorial cartoonist & columnist

Don’t you relish a truth wrapped in just the right amount of laughter?

Listening is an art, really … but even more than that, listening is a gift. It’s such a beautiful way to consider someone else more important than yourself. Rather than making conversation all about yourself, you step back, silence yourself, and listen to the other person.

I know how I feel when I’ve been listened to … when I’ve been heard.

Valued.

Worthwhile.

Significant.

And I know the treasure of clamping a virtual hand over my mouth so that I can lean in and listen to someone else. I walk away knowing someone else better. A hope. A dream. A treasured memory. Even helping to bear another’s burden as they talk through tears.

Yeah, it’s nice to talk.

But it’s rich to listen.

And, as Frank Tyger says, it will keep me out of trouble.

 

In Your Words: What benefits of listening have you discovered? Any tricks for being a good listener?

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20 Comments

  1. August 17, 2012, 5:35 am   /  Reply

    You may laugh, but sometimes I literally have to cover my mouth. This works well on the phone. Slightly awkward in person. ๐Ÿ˜€
    ~ Wendy

    • Beth Vogt
      August 17, 2012, 7:43 am   /  Reply

      ๐Ÿ™‚
      True, my friend. True.

    • August 17, 2012, 8:30 am   /  Reply

      I love this, Wendy. May I use it for a character? :0) Love it.

  2. August 17, 2012, 5:40 am   /  Reply

    Ooh, how timely. Just yesterday I interviewed one of our volunteers where I work…and afterward, I told another staff member this is what I most miss about being a reporter–listening and enjoying. It makes people happy to tell their story, and I liked being the person to make the other one happy.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 17, 2012, 7:43 am   /  Reply

      And everyone — everyone — has a story to tell.

  3. Jeanne
    August 17, 2012, 7:28 am   /  Reply

    Benefits of listening: getting glimpses of others’ hearts when they talk. I learn things, find fulfillment in listening.
    My husband has taught me of the dignity that is imparted by not interrupting one who’s talking. Besides the fact that it drives him nuts, I show him couresty by letting him complete his thought. I’m not always successful, but I’ve worked to keep my lips sealed until he (or someone) is done conveying their thought before I jump in with my own words.

    • Beth Vogt
      August 17, 2012, 7:44 am   /  Reply

      Oh, I like that, Jeanne: dignity is imparted to another when we don’t interrupt them.
      So, so true.

      • August 17, 2012, 9:00 am   /  Reply

        Well said, dignity is a good point to remember. If only we gave one another the dignity of listening AND in entirety. I will remember this next time I am tempted to interrupt. My excuse is always that I might forget (I blame it on old brains), but what that really says is that my thought is more important than yours. Boo.

  4. August 17, 2012, 7:42 am   /  Reply

    I love Wendy’s answer. Reporting helped me learn to listen. I remind myself of this sometimes. I don’t know when it changed โ€” maybe all those political shows made it OK, but everyone interrupts too much. I’m guilty of it, but do my best to catch myself before Hubby gives me the look. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Beth Vogt
      August 17, 2012, 7:44 am   /  Reply

      Ah, the infamous look all couples cultivate. It’s such a priceless, unspoken form of communication …
      ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. August 17, 2012, 8:33 am   /  Reply

    Listening is a skill I wasn’t gifted with, but had to learn. I grew up in a large extended family and, if you wanted to be heard, you often had to talk louder and faster than anyone else! As a mom and wife, I’ve learned the value of letting others be heard. My children are far more obedient when I listen to their requests, fears, joys, sorrows, etc. It’s when I’m caught up in something else, and not giving them adequate attention, that whining ensues. As a friend, I’ve also had to learn to let others speak before I give my opinion. Joyce Meyer once said that the person in a group who is talking the most is probably the person who is the most selfish…hmm… As a wife, I’ve had to learn how to let my husband finish his thoughts before I tell him my own opinions on the matter. He actually pointed out to me that he feels more respected when I let him finish and give it some thought before I reply.

    Thanks for this reminder, Beth!

    • Jeanne
      August 17, 2012, 11:22 am   /  Reply

      Our husbands have a lot in common, Gabrielle. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • August 17, 2012, 8:30 pm   /  Reply

        They do, Jeanne! I love that my husband was able to articulate this to me – it has saved both of us from hurt feelings. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. August 17, 2012, 10:04 am   /  Reply

    “It’s rich to listen.” Nicely put, Beth! I also love when I can clamp that virtual hand over my mouth and really focus on someone else. It’s such a blessing when they allow you to see into their hearts. And it relieves me of thinking about myself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. August 17, 2012, 10:57 am   /  Reply

    I know sometimes I just need my husband to listen to me and sympathize instead of offering advice…so I see the value in doing that for others too!

  8. Ganise
    August 17, 2012, 11:38 am   /  Reply

    Listening : something we need to be reminded of.
    I think this is a common ground that we women share: we like to be listened to , to be heard.
    Thanks for this post, Beth.

  9. August 17, 2012, 4:47 pm   /  Reply

    I have nothing to say because I’m listening….. (Do you know how painful this is??????)

    • Beth Vogt
      August 17, 2012, 5:46 pm   /  Reply

      Becky, you get the gold star today!! Best answer, bar none!

      • August 17, 2012, 6:02 pm   /  Reply

        Mmmmphh-mmooooom! (Translate: Thank you!!!)

        I love gold stars – I never got enough of them when I was a kid. Always in trouble in school for talking too much.

        Tee-hee.

        Have a WONDERFUL weekend, Beth, and thank you for sharing your words with us.

  10. August 17, 2012, 8:30 pm   /  Reply

    Like Gabrielle, I too was not gifted with the art of listening and have had to learn how. It made it easier when I discovered if I’m talking, I’m not learning.
    Great post, Beth!

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