I am working on a chapter on listening. I came across this paragragh. Read it out loud to your spouse and children.
Some important thoughts:
How well do you communicate? Most of us will answer in light of our ability to present our thoughts and ideas in cogent ways. But I would suggest that the finest art of communication in our family life is not expressing our ideas. It is understanding the thoughts and ideas of the other people in the family….
This is a recurring theme of the book of Proverbs. “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (Prov. 18:2). The agenda of a fool in conversation is getting things off his chest. Even when he is not speaking, he is not truly listening. He is simply shaping what he will say next. His next volley in the conversation is not returning the ball you served, but serving a new ball….
A later verse in Proverbs 18 observes, “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” (v. 13) The fool responds without really hearing, with no careful thought or consideration. Speaking in haste is shameful. When we don’t listen, we disclose a low regard for the other’s words and a high regard for our own…
Family life thrives on thoughtful listening. We show respect for others when we listen. Listening says: “I value you and what you are saying; I value it so highly that I will do whatever I can to facilitate your communication. I believe that the time taken to listen is a good investment. I will listen and find joy in understanding the meaning and intent of your words.”