Being a parent is incredibly hard. There are many days where the task is thankless and you feel as if you are not being heard. As I’ve said to chief many a time–it’s not that I want to be in control, necessarily, or the “master” of my universe, but I would like to be heeded, occasionally. Ideally, you’d like your children to think for themselves and for that to happen, they can’t always do what you say. This is a frustrating fact. They are their own people and they won’t always agree with what you have to say or how you view the world. As well it should be (although that’s not what I’m thinking when I want something done, right now. What you tell your children isn’t always necessarily “right,” either. Try as you might. But, that’s not my point. This thought really started with storytelling.
I’m reading a book entitled, Storytelling, in which Christina Baldwin writes, since the beginning of time we all want to leave a lasting mark (paraphrased). My immediate reaction was, not me. I just want to be heard (hence the reference to children/parenting above). Really heard and listened to–choose to argue with me or ignore my words afterwards, but give me the chance to say my piece and have you hear it. That’s all and I don’t really think it’s that big of a request. It’d be a bonus if you wanted to have deep dialogue about it, but that’s another story, too. Being heard or truly listened to applies to more people than we care to acknowledge. Think about lawsuits. All most victims want is an apology or some sort of acknowledgement. Not so difficult when you think about it. There might be less lawsuits if people apologized first and tried to work it out. I know that sounds so PollyAnna, but I don’t think it’s too far from the truth. Deep down you know when you are wrong–it’s the ego that won’t let you admit it. If you’ve done something really wrong it’s the additional fear of punishment, perhaps a denial cocktail mixed in, but that’s also a different story.
Isn’t it great to have a conversation with someone who actually listens? Not with someone who has to answer his/her cell or texts or interrupts with his/her own exploits. I have conversations with girlfriends and we interrupt each other but that’s not the interruption I’m talking about; mostly, because that kind of conversation is more of a stream of consciousness and all of the thoughts and ideas (which are sometimes interrupted by the person speaking) are eventually finished. That’s more of a magical snowglobe of thoughts, ideas and feelings. I’m referring to the one-upmanship or the “let’s talk about me” sort of interruption, which is very different from henhouse Hattie catching up with her best girls. You don’t even have to catch up with the girls to have that feel-good sensation of being listened to or appreciated (hint–sometimes in being a good listener you will be listened to and heard in return). Make eye contact with someone and smile–sometimes that alone will tell its own story. If we’d all slow down and see, feel and listen to our environments we might be pleasantly suprised by what we find. You might actually learn something or make someone’s day.