THE THIRD DAY IN LENT
Friday, February 19, 2021
by Scott Stoner
Practice makes progress, not perfection. —Unknown
I have been taking private Spanish lessons for the last two years. My teacher lives in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and we talk via Skype for one hour every week. There are two things that I have discovered from my experience of learning to speak Spanish that I would like to apply to our focus this Lent on listening.
First, I find that I am much better at speaking Spanish than listening to someone else speak it. Speaking is easier for me because I know what it is I am trying to say. Listening is more difficult because I have to intention-ally focus all my attention on understanding what my teacher is saying to me. I find that my mind wanders more easily when I am listening to something I don’t fully understand than when I am formulating my own sentences, and so I must discipline myself to focus.
Second, my teacher always reminds me that if I genuinely want to improve both my speaking and listening, I have to practice, practice, and practice. We only become more proficient at something by practicing it, not by merely wishing to be more proficient.
The parallels here to our focus this Lent are clear. For many people, speaking seems to come more naturally than listening. Listening usually requires more intentional commitment and effort. If we want to enhance our ability to listen, we will need to practice, practice, and practice.
Making It Personal: Do you find that, in general, listening is more dif-ficult than speaking for you? What helps you to focus as you listen to someone else? Are you ready to make a commitment this Lent to practice listening?