Men, Learn to Listen

I just got done giving a presentation to a large audience when the usual line of people formed to ask questions or give their input to the talk. Then I noticed the desperate face of a desperate man. “I need to talk to you,” he said. I shook more hands and answered more questions and then as the crowd died down, he and I were able to move to a private corner to grab a few minutes uninterrupted. “My wife doesn’t respect me!” he said. “My kids don’t listen to me!” His face was shrouded in anger, the kind of anger that comes from pain. We settled down for a long conversation.

He was a retired Marine, and he looked like one. He was lean and muscular and stared through me as we talked. We went through the usual symptoms of the problem until we got to the root. He just didn’t listen to his family. “Man,” I told him, “if there’s one thing you can offer your wife and kids, it’s to listen. You can’t imagine how important it is to them that you just hear them out. Don’t have a solution to the problem, don’t offer to help, just listen and try to empathize.”

“I try!” he said, “but it’s all just so boring. My daughter goes on and on about who’s dating who. She talks about all her stupid friends. It drives me crazy. I just don’t care. I sit at the dinner table and wait for it all just to be over so I can turn on the TV and unwind.”

“You know,” I said to him, “when I was a newlywed, my wife was traumatized because her jewelry store had been burglarized. She went on and on about it. In those days I was a cop in a brutal area of Los Angeles. I averaged over one gun arrest and two felony arrests every day. I had to buy six watches in one year because they kept getting shattered while fighting with some bad guy in a gutter or tackling some gangster in a parking lot. A jewelry store getting burglarized was nothing in my world.”

“But as I watched her face while she told her story, I realized that she felt violated by the fact that some bad person had broken into her store and taken some of her inventory. I listened intently to her because it was important to her. I don’t know why I had the wisdom to do that, but God gave it to me.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Ken Harrison