Are you listening?
I read a while back that listening is quickly becoming a lost skill. I place an order at a fast-food place, and they get my order wrong. Once I repeated three times—three times—and it was still wrong. In the past, we adults had to tell our children multiple times to listen, but today the adults don’t listen much better than the kids. Or at least it seems that way.
A good friend of mine is an excellent listener. When someone talks to her, she inclines her head toward them, watches them intently, asks for clarification when it’s needed, and reacts appropriately. She is always courteous and caring to everyone. Listeners like her are few.
Someone told me that a stupid person is someone who won’t listen or take instruction. The dictionary meaning is similar to this. The Miriam-Webster dictionary says stupid is “given to unintelligent decisions or acts: acting in an unintelligent or careless manner.” The Bible says those who won’t listen are foolish and will get into trouble. Proverbs 18:2 and 13 are good examples.
I know a couple of people who are prime examples of those who refuse to listen. Their lives are filled with drama. If they can’t find drama in one place, they’ll look for it in another. They are needy in so many ways because they’re constantly making bad decisions then want help to get out of trouble. These people tend to wear out those who are close to them.
What about those young people who won’t listen? In one instance, a young lady is mixed up with a guy who is going nowhere in his life. Her family admonishes her to stop seeing him, and her friends beg her to get away from him, but she is so 'in love’ she can’t seem to see how he is dragging her down. She made plans to attend a good college and study to be a surgeon when she graduated. Because of him, she forfeited going away and is attending a local community college. It’s yet to be seen if she will continue with plans to become a doctor. She is intelligently well able to accomplish that goal, but her rebellion is causing so much friction she has moved away from home and alienated almost everyone who cares for her.
A few years ago, some other teachers and I attended an important workshop for my job, and while I was listening and taking notes, my coworkers pulled out their novels and read the whole time. Back on my job, I was able to utilize the things I learned. They learned nothing and gained nothing. The money paid for them to attend this important professional development was wasted.
What causes one to refuse to listen? How do you get a person to listen before his or her life is ruined? Pray, pray, pray! That’s the only thing I know, and sometimes the person won’t even listen to God. Then there’s nothing left to do. If you know of something else that works, please let me know. I’m concerned the stupidity is spreading as less people learn the skill of listening.