I’m probably one of the worst listeners in the world. I butt in to conversations and I get very opinionated and want to barge in and say my bit. God has a different way of operating which I have yet to learn and that is to listen more than I speak. In James 1:19 (of the Amplified Bible) James advocates “let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offence and to get angry.” Most of us have two ears and one mouth so I, for one, need to listen twice as much as I speak – or aim at it anyway.
There’s wisdom in listening as one can learn so much and also see others points of view.. It’s a humble experience to listen so maybe that’s why I find it so hard. I need to keep getting lower!
God encourages us to listen to Him, the living God. The prophets of old e.g. Jeremiah kept on at the Israelites to listen to God and so I need to heed and listen to Him. When we stop to listen to God (often by reading the Bible) we can see situations and even the world more in perspective.
Our children find it hard to listen in our day as they are so used to thinking about the latest mobile or app that they have and can use so proficiently. To get their attention is difficult. How we need to train them (as we learn ourselves!) in listening actively by looking a person in the eye when someone is speaking to them. This can be very difficult especially for the child that lacks confidence and self esteem. I remember as a child not being able to have my photo taken as it required looking up and acknowledging that a photo of me was of any benefit at all. I certainly couldn’t look people in the eye when speaking to them or listening to them. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in one’s own thoughts. God has changed this coyness in my life but I still need to listen better.
God is able to help us and our children to be the very best listeners. Sometimes, it is what a person is not saying that is important – hence the need to listen carefully. Our 4–5 year olds can learn to listen as they read the Set B, ‘The Jesus Series’ (being published) as books 9-16 require them to listen to a story while they learn to read simple words for themselves. Set A, ‘The Creation Series’ can be read to youngsters so that they can listen and learn how God made everything. (A Creation Sounds CD is also available to develop listening skills further.) Listening can make our children learn and us!