As I was compiling some information for an article for the Files, I happened to run across an interesting narrative written by my aunt Patricia Enger on the need to listen to others. Many of us tend to be very talkative and not listen to what the other person says. This is especially the case with couples. However, how long can the person be silent before speaking his/her mind and provide something of benefit? Here’s a little food for thought as Genre of the Week:
I recently read an article about girls – 10 Words Every Girl Should Learn. “Stop interrupting me.” “I just said that.” “No explanation needed.”
I believe that many women have found themselves in situations where those words would indeed have come in handy; I didn’t need to go too far back in the memory banks to come up with the situations where those situations had happened to me.
Sadly, I also remember being shocked when my own Mother came out and said a version of that to us kids… “I am 75 years old now, and for most of my life, I have sat back and let everyone else give their opinions. I’m not sitting back anymore…I have opinions and I think they’re worth saying so I’m going to give them to you.”
We were shocked.
Those words broke my heart – I loved her so much, but I obviously didn’t know her! I just always had assumed she was quiet because she wanted to be, not because her gregarious husband and chatterbox children wouldn’t let her get a word in edgewise. And my Mother was a riot….
Just think of everything we missed because we never let her talk.
The last time I saw my Uncle, I went into his room….and I sat at his feet. I didn’t think about it – I just did it…it was the right place for me to be. And I stayed there until I left. I asked him questions that day – not everything that I had wanted to ask….the correct time for asking those questions had passed by this time in his life.
My wonderful Niece in law has an incredible gentleman as a friend – he is a well-respected attorney and was one of her employers for a number of years, but he has become much more than that to her and my Nephew…he is a treasured friend.
Last year, she and my Nephew had a Christmas party…this gentleman was there, and I found myself sitting on the floor at his feet listening to him.
Sadly – this year, he won’t be sitting in the chair, so I can’t sit at his feet…he has had some serious health problems – the correct time for me to be asking questions of him has passed as well.
So obviously, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about listening…listening to people that I should have been asking questions of and listening to my whole life, and also sitting at the feet of people that I love and respect that I don’t see very often and listening to them as well.
And something else I’ve learned – no gender or age group has a strangle-holding grasp of wisdom that the others don’t; I know that I could sit at the feet of a number of youngsters…and walk away later after learning an awful lot.
Back to that article – even though I love to listen, I am not ready to give up on contributing to a conversation – but I will always be polite…I can’t ever imagine telling someone to stop interrupting me.
And if someone does interrupt me when I’m speaking, I’ll probably just let them talk – I know that I learn more when I listen than when I talk.
However, that is my route to follow and everyone needs to find their own route…
And if it takes 10 words – more or less – to get your message across, you do have a right to be heard