THE THIRD WEEK IN LENT
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Offering the Gift of Listening
by Scott Stoner
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. —Maya Angelou
We all have had the experience of someone pretending to listen to us. A common example of this is when we are in a group gather-ing and the person we are talking with is busy looking over our shoulder to see who they want to speak to next. Or when we respond to someone who asks how we are doing with an honest answer, and they change the subject because they don’t actually want to hear how we are really doing. Neither of these experiences makes the speaker feel valued.
We have each also had the experience of someone offering us the gift of their full attention and being truly present to us. In those moments, we feel like the most important person in the world to the other person, and we likely will remember that affirming experience for a long time.
All of us know someone in our lives who could benefit from the gift of our listening to them right now. Perhaps they are going through a difficult time or are feeling alone. As we focus this week on listening to our neighbor, perhaps each of us could reach out to a neighbor near or far and offer them the gift of our full attention. The neighbor could even be someone in our own family.
When we offer the gift of listening to others, to paraphrase Maya Angelou, “they may not remember what we said or did, but they will always remember how we made them feel.”
Making It Personal: Can you think of a time when someone listened to you with their full attention? How did that make you feel? To whom might you offer the gift of being fully attentive today?