This week we’re looking at some of Dr. Marv Penner’s strategies and skills for helping hurting kids. Marv has developed a set of skills based on the acronym L.O.V.E. The letter L concerns listening, the most fundamental skill needed by anyone working with wounded kids. Many teenagers are convinced that no one is listening to them. Everyone is either too busy, preoccupied, stressed, or selfish to give kids the undivided attention they need. We must learn to listen beneath the words – at the level of emotions, non-verbal cues, and even silence. Listening must be active and responsive to what’s being said and left unsaid. And of course, it must be non-judgmental. Nothing will shut down a kid’s story more quickly than an adult pointing out where he’s wrong. Listening is a skill we desperately need to develop – not just for the sake of creating an environment conducive to good communication, but for the sake of the spiritual and emotional health of our kids.