When my girls were young, they would run into the house from school ready to share the events of their day with me. Sometimes, I was in the middle of some task and didn’t want to stop and listen. I am a very persistent and focused sort of person and it was hard for me to break away and give them my full attention. That of course was not fair to them or a good parenting practice on my part. When they got older and tried to do the same to me…well let’s just say that I managed to get their full attention so they could listen to what I had to say. Truly this attention deficit is not something I am proud of and have always regretted not being fully present with my girls. What more could I have learned about my girls, their friends and school events if they would have had my complete attention?
Being present means that we know that whoever we are with, they deserve our full attention. One of the writers of Psalms reminds us of the benefits of listening, “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts… Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other (85: 8, 10). When we listen to God with our hearts, we find peace and love. When we listen to others and grow in our understanding of them, we give peace and love. It seems to be a “win, win” for everyone. Let’s be more intentional in our efforts to listen and give people our full attention.