I went out to lunch with my parents yesterday, which is always a treat.
My parents are almost 80 years old. My dad still works full-time as the senior partner in his law firm. My mom works for my dad most afternoons. They go out to lunch together almost every day. Occasionally, I get invited along.
We had great conversation. They are some of the only people besides my husband who love hearing about my kids … in detail!
However, during one part of our conversation, I noticed I was not listening well to my mom. She (a nurse) was trying to explain something medical to me, and I kept talking over her, explaining to her that I already knew what she was trying to tell me.
Why did I do that?
Why do I often do that?
I use my words to try to control people. To try to explain to them how much I know. To try to correct them; fix them, even.
I want to be a better listener. Do you?
First, then, we must start with silence.
“Silence frees us from the need to control others … A frantic stream of words flows from us in attempt to straighten others out. We want so desperately for them to agree with us, to see things our way. We evaluate people, judge people, condemn people. We devour people with our words. Silence is one of the deepest disciplines of the Spirit because it puts the stopper on that.” (Richard Foster)
Oh silence, will you be my friend?