The holidays are full of family time. The kids are excited by all of the hustle and bustle and the excitement of a long break from school. In all of the excitement, the art of listening can come in handy to keep things merry and bright. From remembering it is important to take time to listen to the stories of our elders to Aunt Sally’s blow by blow of the latest swap meet drama to the non-stop description of why this new toy or game is amazing and how you have to play with it, we can all reach our listening patience. But we all must remember that these are the special times, the memories we will treasure forever…and it will all be over in a few weeks and things will return to the daily humdrum of life.
Take this holiday season as an opportunity to educate our youth on the art of listening and why it is important. Set the example and I promise tensions will stay at a happy level throughout the weeks of excitement.
Try implementing a few of these tricks to not lose your patience or focus with the person you are spending time with:
- Put down anything you are holding or working on and make eye contact; show the person you are truly engaged and listening.
- Don’t jump to conclusions about the conversation, allow the speaker to make his or her point before you speak.
- LISTEN, don’t just wait for your turn to respond. We all do it, Mary is telling us why she is irritated by her friend and you are already formulating a response before she has finished her first sentence. If you listen through to the end then formulate your response, you may find that you are having a richer conversation.
- Make encouraging noises to let the person know you are still listening and they are welcome to continue (it’s not that long out of your life to sit and listen folks).
- Find a reason to enjoying listening to the person talk. Everyone (including children) have pearls of wisdom to share if you listen hard enough.
- Remind yourself “life is short but the days are long.” (Rubin, 2009). In other words, we never know what day is our last. Life seems to fly by, but the days seem to drag on forever….enjoy every moment.