Active Listening and Dancing
The other morning my daughter came down the stairs complaining that it was a terrible day! Immediately I contradicted her – announcing “It isn’t a terrible day. It’s beautiful outside. This is the day the Lord has made! Let’s rejoice and be glad in it!” Sounds like something a preacher might say doesn’t it? For a moment I was pleased with myself and my defense of the day and the Creator of every day but then I realized that I had no idea what my daughter was upset about and she was now much less likely to want to talk with me about it.
I believe that we often get upset by minor things that, in the grand scheme, aren’t that big of a deal. Regardless, it is still important to listen to one another in our homes and in our families, among our friends, at work, and in the church. It is a way to show love, to show respect, and to show that you value a person. We need to listen to others in the same way we would want them to listen to us – in the same way we would want God to listen to our prayers! Active listening is like asking someone to dance rather than stay in opposite corners of the dance floor. And dancing is a lot more fun than being a wall flower!
I might have said to my daughter, “It sounds like you are upset…what’s going on? Would you like to talk about it? How can I support you?” Questions like these invite conversation and can lead to solutions, collaboration, and shared experiences. They lead to a type of dance that in the end draws people closer. That is the stuff of life and relationships and that is why we are here – to live in relationship – to love God and to love one another. And that’s what Jesus came to offer. Are you listening?
To God be the Glory!