A fine site


on February 17, 2015

……maybe that’s because you don’t know how to listen.  That’s right.  Being a good listener is not a gift–it is a learned and practiced discipline.  Think about it for a moment.  How many people (either in your past or those you know now) do you consider to be a good listener? Are you a good listener?

Several years ago, I attended a day-long seminar.  The topic was singular–“Mirroring”.  I had never heard of it, but I promise it was a mesmerizing topic and once the basics are mastered, it is life-altering. It goes something like this: 2 people are in disagreement about something.  There seems to be no common ground.  So they agree on the rules for “Mirroring” and have at it.

#1.  They select who speaks first.

#2.  They cannot interrupt under any circumstances until the person is finished speaking.

#3.  While they are speaking, you must LISTEN.  You must not be thinking ahead to when it is your turn to speak and what you are going to say.

#4.  When the first one is finished speaking, they will say so.

#5.  Then you mirror back to them what they said.  That’s why it is important to listen to them.  You ask them, “Did I hear you correctly?”

#6.  They will say yes or no.  If you misunderstood something that they said, they will correct you.

#7.  Then it is your turn to speak.  This same procedure is followed for you.

#8.  Now that you have both spoken what is on your mind, and both are clear in what the other one has said, it is now time to give something to the other person.

For you to understand what I mean, I give the following scenario: A husband and wife are constantly bickering.  The husband would like for the wife to keep a cleaner house and the wife would like the husband to turn off the television and help her around the house.  Sound familiar?  They go through the “Mirroring” process as stated above and then comes the part that makes this whole thing so amazing.

The wife knows after the husband listed his grievances (laundry always piled up and clothes left in the dryer, dishes never done at night so that the kitchen would be clean in the morning, bed never made and the new comforter always on the floor for the dog’s bed) that she needs to give him something–after all, it is part of the “Mirroring”.  She knows that everything he said is true, and decides to give him the easiest for her–a bed made every morning, complete with comforter and pillows, and she’ll even buy Rover his own bed. So she tells him,

#9.  Right now, the only thing I can give you is to make the bed every morning. And you mean it.  It is like a contract between you.

Now it’s the husband’s turn.  He knows how addicted he is to “Cops” and that he is in total control of the remote.  He also knows that he was raised that the woman is responsible for the house and the man is responsible for everything outside the house (the yard, maintenance, etc.)  He also knows that she has a full time job, too, and so he realizes how selfish he has been.  So he tells her,

#10.  Right now, the only thing I can give you is my help with cleaning the kitchen after supper every night. And he has to mean it.

Now each person has given the other something. This was concerning a husband/wife relationship, but the same principle works with other relationships as well…parent/child, co-workers, best friends and so on and so forth.

Of course, you won’t explain “Mirroring” to everybody with whom you interact throughout your life.  But I think it’s a great thing to practice good listening on every person who comes across your path.  We look at people, but we never see them really. Do we? We go to work or go to church with folks week after week, and year after year, but do we know anything about them?  Do we know what their favorite food is, or how many grandchildren they have, or what they did before they retired?  Or when is the last time you took the time to just sit and listen to them talk.  People enjoy talking about themselves, but many finally lapse into silence because long ago they discovered a wife, a friend, a child, a parent, a teacher, a pastor who just didn’t seem to care enough to listen to them.  How I wish I had listened, really listened, and maybe even took notes when my grandparents would tell stories about “The Old Days”.

For what my opinion is worth, I think the problem is that we are too busy with less important things, while letting the really important things slip through our fingers.  We couldn’t wait to graduate high school, and then couldn’t wait to leave home and be on our own.  Couldn’t wait to have our own family and buy our own home.  Time just couldn’t fly fast enough to suit us.  Then we are sitting in a rocking chair holding a grandbaby and we wonder where all the years have gone. What could we, should we have done better?  I think what will matter at the end is how we have treated people.  My regrets don’t concern material possessions, the gain or loss of them.  My regrets concern my selfishness when it came to those closest to me.  You say it is water under the bridge, and that’s true.  But on this cold, dreary winter day, as I sip a cup of hot apple cider, my heart hurts a little bit that my youth was wasted on such selfish endeavors.

Tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities to see those God has placed in my life, and to listen (really listen) to them.  God forgives, and I am so glad He does.


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