Actually Listening

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I work with middle school kids these days. I know I haven't really had the moment to talk about what I've actually been doing for work since last February - mainly because it takes up all my time and that's why this little blog has somewhat gone to the wayside - but, we can start there. I work with middle school kids.

You can stop rolling your eyes or groaning or whatever it is you're doing at the moment now, okay? How did I know what 90% of you were just doing? Experience Every single time I even utter "middle school" people start having flashbacks to those awful years of their lives. It's that most taboo time period to talk about. Everyone was awkward and no one really knew what was going on...ever.

But, that's another post for another time. Let me just leave you with one thought: Middle School Kids? Not so bad, actually.

But one thing I've really learned from both them and this job? It's hard to actually listen to someone. Once someone is a few words into their sentence our brain is thinking over them so loud that you can barely hear them anymore. We're so distracted - our culture has taught us that we can multitask at anything we put our mind to. And it's a lie.

Our brains were not made to multitask. When we think when someone is talking, or check our phone, or turn to glance at a TV, or anything else, we take our attention away from the conversation at hand. Why can't we be quiet? Why can't we be still? It's something I struggle with and something I'm trying really hard to get the kids I work with to understand.

How to listen to someone, actually listen, when someone is talking to you.

Not to be formulating what you want to say when they're done.
Not to be thinking about what you want to cook for dinner that evening.
Not crafting a to-email list for work the following day.
Not daydreaming about your weekend plans.

Actually LISTENING to all of the words being said to you. Being fully present in that real, human-to-human interaction that you're a part of at that very moment.

That's my challenge to you. Next conversation with someone? Listen.

Actually Listen.

1 comment:

  1. It's harder for some than others, don't you think? I'm a good listener. In fact, I'd rather listen than talk.


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