Listen Before Speaking

All too often I’m the guy who’s described in Proverbs 18, verses two and thirteen. I’m the fool who “finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions” and the shameful fool “who answers before listening.” I’ve had to learn the hard way that when I’ve been thrust into conversations with my kids where we don’t see eye-to-eye, it’s sometimes best to bite my tongue, shut my mouth, and open my ears. We have to remember that our kids are not yet adults. Therefore, we can expect a mix of developing and not-yet-there thinking ability tainted by immaturity, impulsivity, inconsistent logic, and a lack of the kind of wisdom that comes with age and experience. Speaking quickly to point out that they have no idea what they’re talking about, to tell them that they’re wrong, and to quickly pass on the right answer. . . well, all those approaches can actually stifle communication. Listen first. And when our kids know they’ve been heard and respected, they’ll be more prone to hear our carefully crafted and well-thought-out response.