What if you knew a secret that revolutionizes relationships? This nugget of wisdom can make us better wives, better parents, and wiser counsellors. It’s one of the best gifts you can give someone.
No book offers more practical wisdom for putting feet to our faith than James, and in the 1st chapter he says this:
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” (James 1:19)
For today, let’s leave anger aside and look at the first part of the verse:
Maybe the best gift you can give someone today is to listen.
James’ word of advice speaks loudly to me because I have a mouth with a mind of its own. I get myself into trouble talking more times than I can count. Instead of listening carefully, I tend to:
- Get distracted by many thoughts and tasks.
- Jump in with my own comments.
- Give advice quickly.
So today, I’m on a mission to put a reign on my mouth and slow down enough to really listen to people. Can you think of anyone in your life who might need you to listen more? Here are three things we can do to become better listeners:
Give the Gift of Undivided Attention.
Listening begins with giving the other person your undivided attention. Instead of shuffling papers, folding laundry, or painting our nails, let’s slow down a moment to look at the person speaking to us. (I’m talking to myself here.)
Why is this so hard? We get excited and chime in with our reaction or we jump in with our opinion or advice. How about making an effort today to wait for the other person to finish?
Ask Ourselves, “What Does this Person Need?”
Does the person talking to us have a need? Are they trying to pass on information, make a social or emotional connection, or do they simply want some company? Does the person want help and advice, or do they just want to be listened to? Let’s try to respond according to the need of the person talking.
Will you join me today on my mission? Who knows what person in your life today will need a listening ear? It might be a co-worker during lunch, or your toddler at snack time, or your husband over dinner. It might just be the best gift you can give them.
What about You? Are you more of a listener or a talker?