Who is the best listener you know? Pause for a minute and recall a conversation with that person. What does s/he do that makes you feel heard? Perhaps full attention is given, without doing anything else while you speak. Or maybe body language conveys the intent to understand you, with good eye contact, leaning in slightly and nodding from time to time. Many good listeners also refrain from chiming in about their own experiences or opinions until the time is right. Is your “best listener” patient and focused on your thoughts?
I don’t know about you, but I feel calmer and more secure even just thinking about being heard by someone who is a good listener. The 7 Habits of Happy Kids habit for the month of March is #5: First Seek to Understand. Through focus on this habit, students will learn these perspectives:
In our very busy lives, full of meaningful and important activities, it can be a real challenge to be an empathetic listener. At the same time, we know it is one of the most valued traits in family members, friends and leaders.
As always, we are grateful for everything Horace Mann families do to support the growth of the whole child. Can you imagine how powerful it will be if lots of adults in kids’ lives make listening and seeking to understand a priority this month?
With warm regards,
Dr. Merritt F. Waters