Over the past several weeks I’ve discovered one of my newest and largest pet peeves: failure to listen. And not just to listen, failure to hear. Listening and actually hearing are two different things.
Ironically enough, the cause of this irritation did not come from my students. While my ninth graders indeed have trouble listening and I repeat instructions at least three time, for the most part it’s simply their age level that makes it difficult to remember sequential instructions. While I could get more done in a block if I only had to review instructions once, I don’t mind that type of inability to listen so much.
The lack of listening that has grown to bother me is the kind that comes up in a conversation. And I’m guilty of it also. The kind where you’re in the middle of a sentence and the other person suddenly throws something random in, and you wonder, “Are you hearing anything I’m saying?” Or when you start to say something and the other person finishes your sentence and you think, “That’s exactly the opposite direction that I was going.” Like I said, I do it to. I wonder if it goes along with the informational era that we live, where we are constantly being bombarded with new sensory information that our minds have to keep jumping around to keep up with it. We have trouble focusing.
I think that reason it bothers me so much, though, is because of the value that I place on both words and time.
My time is important to me, as is the time of whomever I am working with or talking to. Not listening devalues that time.
Words are a means of expression of the soul, trying to verbalize thoughts that feelings that often cannot fully be verbalized. To not fully hear those words is to devalue someone as a person.
I titled this “Loss of listening” as opposed to “Lack of listening” because I feel like it’s slowly getting worse in society. We keep hearing so many things that we tune that many more out…so much so that we miss the really important things.
Don’t miss out.
Meanwhile, I am immensely enjoying my vacation week.