Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Listening Is A Form Of Validation

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but listening is a true form of validation
My oldest wants to lose a tooth. Badly. This summer the kid shed teeth like a shark, so I was a little confused as to why he wanted to lose another one. Was he looking for another payout from the tooth fairy? (One tooth came out while we in Thailand. We weren’t carrying a lot of small US currency, so we casually inquired as to whether or not he thought the tooth fairy would be bringing Thai baht. When he dismissed that notion as absurd, my husband and I had to scramble to find three US dollars between us.)

After some probing, he admitted that many of his friends at school were losing teeth. I was still a little confused. “Does the teacher give you something if you lose a tooth?” I asked. “No,” he said, “she writes your name on THE BOARD.”

Oh, fame. How strong your beacon burns.

But, isn’t his simple desire what we all want – to be noticed. We don’t want to just be visible, we want to be seen.

We may not all need our name in lights (or on the white board), but we want to be acknowledged, to feel respected, to be heard.

What’s the surest way to make someone feel small? It isn’t to put them down – they can refute that - it’s to marginalize them.

For many years, the hallmark of a well-raised child was one who was seen but not heard. This old adage is no longer the standard (and many feel that the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction), but don’t many of us act as if this is the only acceptable behavior for other adults?

You can have an opinion,  but I don’t want to hear it (especially if it differs from mine). You can tell me your ideas, but only if you can do it in under five minutes. You can be in my presence, but you can’t share my space.

Take the time to listen to someone today. Hear their words and their meaning. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but listening is a true form of validation.

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