Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I am a great listenter... what did you say?

It's kind of crazy the things you learn as you get older. Things you knew when you were ten but forgot somewhere between there and twenty. Like how not to care about what people thought about what you looked like, or the things you said. Or how to run circles right after you jump out of bed... or maybe just how to JUMP joyfully out of bed every morning, instead of miserably rolling out.
I'm learning that other people may actually have something good to say. I've always thought I was a good listener, but I'm not so sure anymore. For instance, my wife Laura is an amazing professional, partner, and mom. Every day she spends her time problem solving to help students overcome their learning disabilities, or to aid teachers in reaching students in spite of their limitations. In the midst of this, she counts calories, talks with friends and reads about the best ways to raise our child, gets excited about new recipes, and learns better ways to stay healthy through diet and exercise. Yet, when she speaks to me about something that I feel is in my expertise, my ears tend to close off, and I dismiss what she has to say before she says it. This is dumb. If my wife was an ignoramus, it would be a logical thing to do, but my wife is brilliant. So I am learning. I am trying to listen when she talks and to stop my male ego from blocking my ear-holes to what my wife has to say. Sure, sometimes it may be something I have already ruled out, but how will I know unless I have listened in order to understand? The craziest thing about all of this is the bi-product that this cultivates. When I listen - I mean, really listen, she lights up, and all the things I fell in love with are glowing in her eyes. She becomes even more beautiful and seems to fall for me the way she did when we were dating... Maybe I'm on to something here... if I can just keep it up.