Tip-toeing through a fragile eggshell mother-daughter relationship during Serena’s teen years wrenched my heart many times over. With conscious effort on both parts mother and daughter patched the humpty-dumpty bond back together again over a period of ten years. This mother was overjoyed but also learned through hard lessons in the past that no-matter how well meaning and loving we are, that there are boundaries that need to be kept. Daughters want their private space, especially now that they have reached adulthood. [Read more...]
A familiar quote says that God created us with two ears and one mouth for a reason – so we would listen two times more than we speak. The previous post mentioned how important it was to listen to other family members, and counsel with experts when needed by asking for second opinions and or seeking family counseling with social workers or clergy. I have found this is sound advice in every situation. When a friend or family member needs to talk, resist the urge to give advice right away and just listen. Ask questions, and really try to understand the answer.
We especially need to actively listen to our children. Listen to their joys, their pain, their sorrow, their plans. Make time to show interest. Be available and approachable so they will want to come to you. It is exciting to see how many ideas a young growing mind has, and watch it flourish. By listening instead of dictating we encourage the child’s communication skills and allow a child to spread their own wings and gain experience. By listening, instead of saying not now, I’m busy, we can catch problems early before they wreck lives. By listening, we understand and show love.
As a nurse I found that listening to my patient helped tremendously. By finding out what their concern was, I could teach to fill their needs, let the doctor know something vital the patient forgot to say when he was there, or an important missing piece of information a family member provided. Also actively listening to what led up to the current situation, and surrounding it helps. I can’t live in the patient’s, the parent’s or family’s shoes. There is no way that a diagnosis manifests the same from one situation to the next, or that any one family learns exactly like another, or that any person reacts the same as another, or even sometimes the same person reacts the same way from one time to the next.
Listen with your ears, using your mind, heart and soul. Respect the person who is trying to convey their to you.No matter what their background, culture, education, age, ethnicity, religion, spiritual base, or other difference is from you, every being deserves respect. Don’t look at what they are wearing and pre-judge what the answer should be without listening to the complete story, circumstance. It may take more than one session, one hour, or the fleeting moment you planned on. But the reward will be worth it.
If there is a sound problem such as deafness, or a speech impediment, or other communicative disability of any kind do your best to overcome the obstacles by searching for a specific solution. Perhaps listening will require a different mode of communication such as the written word, or using devices like mechanical voices, hearing aides, computer aided speech. With today’s technology there are many new tools to use. Some other methods may be of assistance. Music is a way of sharing a universal message through emotions. Art conveys thoughts with images instead of words. When your comprehension of the other persons needs and desires is not complete try using one of these alternative forms of communication.