I've been lingering on my "focuses" for months 6 & 7 for a while (I'm doing a different "focus" each month this year in conjunction with my "one word" for the year...click here for my other reports).
Ever since my little light bulb moment at the orthodontist's office that I wrote about back here, I've been thinking about how I listen...to my kids, to my husband, to others around me.
And I've realized sometimes I'm not the best listener.
I get so overwhelmed as my mind races in every direction from the next big event I need to help out with at church to how I haven't balanced my bank account for about a year to how I forgot to listen to the eighteen new messages on my answering machine to how sad my heart was the night before because so-and-so fell asleep before I went to tuck them in like I promised I would.
I have continual guilt about not being where I need to be when I have over committed myself to be at five different places at the same time, so how can I channel my brain into really listening?
So I've been using my "focus" each month as a way to try to become a better listener.
As I see it, there are two problems I needed to work on to become the listener I wanted to be:
1) I can't really seem to concentrate on what's happening right here and right now when my mind is all over the place, so in June I focused on ORGANIZATION. My desk and house were filled to the brim with things screaming to be organized and I couldn't stand it any longer. I figured if I could just clear away some of the "clutter" of my life I could listen better. So the kids and I got a ton organized. We cleaned out closet after closet and threw away or gave away bag after bag of stuff. I started on the Mind Organization for Moms program (more on that later) until all my best efforts were put to a screeching halt as the last bell rang dismissing my kids into summer.
2) So then I moved my focus to RELATIONSHIPS in July (where listening is key). I loved being with my kids as well as my extended family over July to really have the time to practice the art of being a better listener with them.
I've been practicing. And learning. And fine-tuning. All those great comments back on that post sure made me think so much. (thank you)
Over the past few months I've realized the way I listen to one child needs to be different from the way I need to listen to the next, as well as the way I listen to my husband or siblings or friends. (No matter what kinds of questions I brew up for Max, he doesn't really open up to tell me stuff until kids are crawling all over me while I'm trying to make dinner and I'm stressed out. Yeah, that's when he chooses to open up. And I need to cherish that and realize maybe the chaos is helping him get out what he's thinking.)
Yes, the way I need to listen to each person is different, but the actual listening part is the same for everyone: open your ears and concentrated on what is being said. No matter what else your hands are doing, your heart and your ears need to be open to what is coming their way.
This morning I came across this link, (thank you, whoever left a comment to link to it...), and I realized that it pretty much sums up what I've been thinking about. So much that it made me a little teary. I so want to be there for my family and friends...I'm so thankful for how they are there for me.