The art of listening….
One of a humans greatest need is psychological survival, to be understood, affirmed, validated, and appreciated.
In other words, we need to be heard. It isn’t always easy, and we live in a busy world, and many of us spend our days in a time crunch.
But the experts agree, when we take time to listen we improve relationships, promote an atmosphere of cooperation and encourage creative thinking, and even save money by avoiding costly errors caused by miscommunication.
Active listening does not come naturally. Stephen Covey notes that when someone speaks, our initial reaction is to evaluate and scrutinize them… the opposite of what we should do.
Instead, we should focus on empathetic listening with the intent to understand and we must does this with the goal of helping…
There are four phases of empathetic listening, according to Covey…
- the first is to mimic content, repeating exactly what the speaker has said
- the second stage is to rephrase the content to what was said in our own words
- third, you may reflect feelings or make a non-judgmental statement about the speaker’s emotions, empathizing with what or how he feels
- the fourth stage is a combination of the second and third stages, to rephrase content and reflect feelings
Sometimes you don’t want to hear what’s being said, choosing to be annoyed instead of understanding the other person’s view… this only damages a relationship. We’d make a better choice of moving forward, forgiving the offense and the offender, and resolving the problem.
Listening must come from the hear. If it is not sincere it will show regardless of what you say… nonverbal gestures will expose true feelings. When this happens, make it a point to remain focused on what the speaker is saying, actively participating in and practicing the stages of empathetic listening… the art of listening lies in understanding that to be an effective father, leader, spouse, or any other role we must not only care about what others have to say, but also how they feel… just remember your kids need your full attention, your patience, and a listening ear… so listen well when they speak. It will make you an even better father than you already are …
Improving family communication…
Communication has two parts…
- listening and
- expressing yourself
Both must occur for communication to be successful..
When you listen well to family members, you encourage them to talk about what’s most important to them. It’s easy to get careless about really listening.
Listening is at least as important as talking. Everyone needs someone to listen to them-someone who supports them and allows them to openly express feelings. Sometimes a person can find a solution or discover the sources of stress just by talking. Some of us process our feelings or find ways to clarify and express our thoughts by simply talking to others. Find out which of your kids process in this way and you will have a key to unlocking their “code”.
Dad’s sometimes fill obligated to lecture, presents solutions, and give an analysis when listening. This is not good listening. A good listener should not feel obligated to advise, analyze, or have all the answers. Listening and responding with concern and understanding may be all the help needed.
Listening is difficult when strong emotions are present …
- attentiveness…paying attention and putting aside what you are doing shows the speaker that you intend to listen. The harder part of attentiveness is putting aside your opinions and thoughts and conclusions until you’ve really heard what the speaker is trying to say.
- an attitude of openness and respect… you may not agree with what your family members saying, but being willing to hear and listen indicates respect and honor.
- clarifying meaning… check out the interpretation of the message you are getting. Feedback helps to know whether you’ve understood what your family member means. Give feedback or check your interpretation of what is being said…
- a validating response… this lets the other person know you are ready for more listening. This involves body language, posture, facial expressions, and genuinely showing readiness for more communication
Dads tend to be natural lecturers… all of us need to work to be more intentional listeners. I’ve found many times that listening sets the stage for solving problems, great relationships, and genuine peace in our family. Practice just sitting and focusing on your child without any distractions, and it will transform your life, their life and your relationship together.
To my friend and brother:
Proudly I call you my brother—-the lives we lived although different, were mirrored in so many ways that are paths were entwined forever…
Born of humble circumstance, raised by saintly mother, forged by the Depression, in which doing without was commonplace, you were a gifted athlete, literally fighting for an education, knowledge, and some wisdom.
Through the great conflict, where the wild blue yonder,, became close up deadly and dirty. And you and I lived, suffered losses, made mistakes, played thousands of card games, played hundreds of rounds of golf, fought, drink to excess, and selfishly survived…
Well, it was about time. When we made the long-awaited changes… and with those changes came sobriety,, self-respect and most importantly love of family,, those of goodwill, coupled with a great love for Christ.
He takes you into his arms. Go lovingly, Compadre. ,So long I will miss you: keep the light on for me…
(My father Bob Hammond died on Valentines Day 2004 at the age of 83 of cancer. He was an awesome dad, mentor, WWII survivor, and God guy…I hope you may meet him one day…)
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”
Proverbs 22:6, King Solomon of Israel…
This is a great concept, promise, principal and protocol for fathers.
Training up has the idea of a parent graciously investing in a child whatever wisdom, love, nurture, and discipline is needed for him to become fully committed to God.
It presupposes parental emotional and spiritual maturity.
“In the way that he should go”…. is to do the training according to the unique personality, gifts and aspirations of the child. the idea here is to, equip, resource and be a catalyst for your child’s gifts,, skills, and natural abilities. We must study our kids and know just what their strengths and weaknesses are.
The converse is to help the child avoid whatever natural tendencies. She might have that would prevent total commitment to God. For example… a week will, a lack of discipline, a susceptibility to depression, etc…) knowing where our kids are prone to weakness will help us to help them avoid the pitfalls of poor decision-making, lack of character, in maturity and more. This is as important as knowing their strengths and gifts and facilitating those…
The promise is that proper development with great parenting ensures the child will stay committed to God and love people… the two basics of the 10 Commandments. May we stay focused,, diligent and intentional in this key role!
some things I could live without…
- most all vegetables
- too much rain
- negative people
- back in other pain
- secondhand smoke
- distractions of all sorts
- most candy
- popular culture stupidity
- political correctness
- divisions, schisms, and illogical differences
- having stuff, versus having character
- people who wield their power inappropriately
- the mindset of no God, faith or belief
- too much makeup
- too much cologne
- lack of coffee
- mint chip ice cream
- chick flicks
- angry people
- bitter individuals
- vengeful humans
- the New York Yankees
- people that gawk and stare incessantly
- wanna be hippies
- most country western music
- people who don’t even try…or cry
- men who bail on their kids and wives
- people who limit God in their unbelief
- people who blame God for their stuff
- prejudice, racism, and plain old closed-mindedness
- resistive individuals who refuse to communicate
- ice cold showers
- overly warm hot tubs
- chlorinated pools
- dog poop in the wrong places
- owners of above dogs
- people who kiss their animals
- running out of time….
- born in Emmitsburg, Iowa
- once ran 101 laps around a basketball court
- has a half-brother and a half sister
- raised a Lutheran, baptized as an Adventist, partied as a teenager, loves God as an adult
- loves everything coffee
- voted most perfect hair in high school
- beginning to bald today
- likes Seinfeld, The Office, and in everything sci-fi
- likes chocolate… loves caramel
- plays guitar… loves to worship God
- had a World War II dad
- had liberal professors at Humboldt State
- almost died three times
- one marriage, nine kids, one miscarriage
- likes to be naked
- loves all San Diego sports teams
- works out three times a week
- has been in media advertising for 25 years
- loves everything sales, achievement and goal setting
- lectures at the university level
- Toastmaster, ATM silver
- likes walks with his wife
- loves classical music, and some 70s rock
- reads the Bible daily, newspaper too
- placed third place in the national city Duncan yo-yo championship
- forgets things quickly
- speed reads a little
- came from the wrong side of the tracks, lived in the projects, was poor growing up
- has owned 4 VW’s
- likes guy movies…
- Tom Hanks… favorite actor
- likes to hot tub with an iced mocha and two young sons
- likes to trampoline
- is completing a book on seven steps of effective fathers
- is a graduate of the NSA Pro track school of speaking
- was a fat kid
- has a son and a dog named Jake
- has nine talented children
- has two special needs kids
- has a wonderful, gracious, and beautiful wife
- is thankful on Thanksgiving, and beyond….
Leadership means many things to many people…I think it means being proactive… being the first.
…I know that leading means:
- taking the initiative
- setting the standard
- identifying vision, goals and priorities
- being the example always….
A good leader takes responsibility and says” the buck stops here”.
Leaders show the way and model by example what they’re trying to accomplish.
They press on and press in, and they run counter to the culture of convenience… they refuse to get stuck in the “bright and shiny objects”, diversions, and side eddies of our culture.
They strain and strive with intentionality and energy to build relationships and create a legacy and heritage and their families…. I do much of this is simply by taking the initiative, being intentional and planning by writing and accomplishing compelling goals that are relationship based…
Who is leading your family?
Who is leading your children?
If not you, who? If not now, when?
Scott Hammond is a professional speaker, trainer, writer and father of 9 kids and lives in McKinleyville (Humboldt County) California with his wonderful wife Joni. Scott can be contacted at scott@BecomeaBetterFather.com or 707-616-7665.
As fathers, we have a choice…
It’s a choice regarding investment… not necessarily of money, stocks, bonds… but of time and life units.
Your choice, and you’re free to decide how you will invest your life units..
Will it be for stuff? Possessions? Status? Fame? Pleasure?…
Or perhaps you could invest your life units in your family, your kids, leaving a legacy, a heritage, and a quality-of-life inheritance for them.
You won’t be perfect, but you can be intentional, sequential, methodical, and directional in this vital goal. You have no choice but to succeed!
You will need help along the way. Some of the resources you will need to be humble enough to ask will be…
- your wife
- father mentors
- your kids
- other resources including books, CDs, tapes and DVDs, and the Web
- goal-setting tools and techniques
- accountability with others whom you trust and love…
How much do care?
Be honest with yourself and others.
Are you willing to do the work? Pay the price? Take the steps?
It’s truly up to you to be the architect of your own father plan. You can not afford to be self deceived, haphazard, or halfhearted when it comes to deciding and acting in this vital area…
You can ask yourself the following questions again and again…
- who are you??
- what do you want??
- why are you here??
- what’s not happening now that you would like to see start happening??
- what’s happening now that you would like to see stop happening??
What will it be, dad?… what’s it gonna be?… make a decision…. do something!
Fathers, you are the architects, and you’ve got to get comfortable enough to lead and to put together your “Dad Plan” .
You’ve got to start somewhere.. so how bout this?…a goal is a dream with a deadline…
- dream, plan, write, and share two or three goals you have as a father
- post them and review them on a regular basis
- be accountable to yourself and someone else to accomplish them
- when you fail and fall short (which you will)… move on and press forward and start back up where you left off. Have forgiveness and grace on yourself, your kids, and your spouse and others.
The key here is attitude… you don’t HAVE to do these things.. but you GET to do these things.
Your motivation and attitude is everything so decide now in the seat of your will, that this is a priority, and you will succeed!
When will you get started on your Dad Plan?
How will it look when you schedule your kids into your life and really keep your appointments with them?
What will it take for you to be the initiator/leader with this plan, and in your family?
If not you, who? If not now, when?
How about you…. and how about right now…
Dad, you are the key…. you the man… now be a man.
You must be intimately in touch with your mission, goals, and objectives as a family man, husband, and father.
This will require discipline, selflessness, living your priorities, and time management.
You will need to leverage the hours of your day and to be intentional and everything you do.
Time is the only resource you’re guaranteed to have.
The key here is to write down what you want… dream it, plan it, and do it.
The questions are…
- who are you
- what do you want
- why are you here
- what is not working, that you would like to see work
- what is happening now, that should like to see vanish?…
The answer to these questions will determine your” brand” as a father…
What brand are you now?
What brand do you want to be?
Thoughts on leaving a legacy in your heritage…
A good father transfers the following to his children…
- a love for God and people
- ethics knowledge
- wisdom and understanding
- love and compassion
- good attitude and motivation
Great fathering requires us as dads to raise up kids in the way they should go.
They are individuals, not part of a cookie-cutter machine.
Therefore we need to work with kids on their level, meeting their needs, resourcing, respecting and fostering the individuality of each child.
We must study to know and then resource their gifts, bents, and skills. No two children are alike.
This all requires patience on our part to work on their level, one or two things at a time. Slowly, with a patient father’s heart.