Saturday, October 15, 2016

Listening Ears

My wife and I have used the phrase "put on your listening ears" with all of our kids over the years. We use it when we can see that our crew can hear that we're talking, but just aren't listening to what we're saying. Or when they anticipate what they think we are going to say missing our point completely. As parents, we try to emphasize the importance of listening to those around you in order to be effective communicators. By listening to and considering all sides or opinions, educated and thought-out opinions can be established and then further explained.

Now, that doesn't mean that I'm always perfect at it, as I'm sure my wonderful wife will tell you that I often anticipate what she is saying, and speak to points that she never made. For the record.. she does it too.. Just less often :)

We all get caught up in the speed of the world around us, and selectively listen to most things. We hear the points we want to hear, anticipate our conclusions, and stand by opinions that we truly can't have a foundation on based on the lack of listening we've actually done.

The other day, after the last debate, I was speaking with an adult peer of mine. This person was surprised that I wasted my time listening to the debate stream from my phone. "Really? I knew it would be a train wreck. I know what they're going to say." In fact, I noticed many posts on Facebook saying how they were SO glad to skip the debate to watch football or whatever else.

And THIS surprises me. Because in this same conversation the person, and another peer went off on the increasing premiums and pharmacy costs under ObamaCare. And everything they were frustrated about was exactly a talking point of Secretary Clinton. I listened to her speak to each of their frustrations during that debate. And when I said that, these two adult peers of mine admitted that maybe they should watch the next debate.

I've let this conversation sit in the back of mind as I continue to watch and read things on Facebook supporting the idea that many of us are selectively listening and anticipating talking points from each of these candidates. So much so, that I see so many people picking candidates without actually listening, OR sometimes worse, based on feelings about a person that they've never met, and only know about through media coverage.

We are less than a month away from one of the most important voting days in my lifetime. So, I encourage you all, to put on your listening ears. Really listen to the candidates without selective listening, without anticipating your own feelings about what you think is going to be said. We expect that of our kids, our friends, our employees, the students in our schools, and our elected officials. But I feel that there are many out there that are missing that expectation of ourselves during this election. If you do that, I don't care which candidate you choose. I just want to know that those that voted listened, truly listened to the points the candidates are making for our country.

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