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A wise old owl sat in an oak. The more he heard the less he spoke; the less he spoke, the more he heard. Why aren’t we all like that wise old bird?” I have learned that while I am talking I am not learning, but as I listen I learn. Descarte said, “I think, therefore I am.” I thought about me, “I talk, therefore I am.” I put a sign in my office, “I know I have the right to remain silent, but it seems I completely lack the ability to do so.” I am trying to learn how to listen, but it is hard. I know I can learn more with my ears, than I can with my mouth. There are times I talk too much when I should have just listened.

I have never had to apologize for things I did not say. Job’s friends were miserable comforters because they gave their opinions when they should have listened. As David Roper wrote, “When I am thinking about my response while others are talking, I am not listening. When I offer unsolicited advice, I am not listening. When I offer a solution to their problem, I am not listening. I fail to see their true need because I am not listening. When I glance at my watch or the window, I am not listening. When I fail to maintain eye contact, I am not listening. When I do not refer to what they say, I am not listening. As they share their sad experience, and I counter with my larger experiences, I am not listening.

I have learned that listening is hard work.” Sometimes people do not need our advice, opinions, or words, but they just need a listener who really cares. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” – Unknown. Someone wrote, “When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving advice, you have not done what I asked. When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way, you are ignoring my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as that may seem. So please listen and just hear me. And if you want to talk. Wait a minute for your turn. Then I will listen to you.” It is a fact that one of the biggest problems in the home and life is that it seems no one really cares or listens. Couples need to listen to one another. Parents need to listen to children. Children need to listen to parents. Friends need to listen to friends. Let’s learn to listen. “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him” (Prov. 18:13). “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19). You cannot talk and listen at the same time. So let’s all try to be more like that wise old owl in the oak, “The more he heard the less he spoke; the less he spoke, the more he heard.” Let’s learn to listen. You will be glad you did and so will others – “Amen” or “Oh, me!”

Timely Thought: We are not compete but complete one another – TC

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