Thursday, August 22, 2013

Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry

The title to this post is filled with great wisdom. It is also something I think is very difficult for most people. I know that's the truth for me. I like to speak as soon as the thought comes to my mind. Often I speak before I think. That frequently gets me in trouble.

My listening skills are something I have been working on quite a bit over the years. With my job, one of the things I do is some life coaching. In coaching there are two major things that must happen 1) I have to listen. 2) I have to ask good questions. So listening is something I am discovering is really great wisdom.

If you are not a good listener, you are likely missing out on what is truly being said. I think it's really important to do this not only with our ears but with her eyes. Eye contact with someone, when they are talking, observing their body language, it's seeing all that is going on around in the conversation. Part of that is reading between the lines as you listen also.

When we stop and listen, we have the opportunity to find out what is going on. If we speak without really listening we miss much of what is being said or what is happening. When you're going to get angry, that anger is often passed to the person you get angry with. Anger is extremely contagious. So are smiles and joy, for that matter.

Last year I was driving on the interstate and suddenly was stuck in heavy traffic. It was not a rush hour time and it was very frustrating. I remember being irritated, frustrated, angry.  I turned on the radio and heard that there had been a shooting at Clackamas town Center. The traffic was backed up for miles and miles as a result of this. I remember the guilt I felt because I was upset about a little traffic when someone had been shot.

Often when we get angry at something we don't see what is happening immediately. If I had just waited and tried to find out why the traffic was happening I would never had to deal with that guilt. 

I remember when Karston was just a little boy. He suddenly had an extremely difficult time breathing. This freaked me out considerably. We called the doctor and immediately rushed to urgent care. On my way I was passing a vehicle and getting into the turn lane about 50 feet before the turn lane started. This was not dangerous because the other lane was wider there to compensate for the upcoming turn lane. BUT, there was a guy who was coming toward me and did not like that I was breaking the law and turned his car at me! WHAT?! Yes, I was in his lane, but there was PLENTY of space and my son couldn't breathe! He wanted to play police officer out of his anger. He had no idea that my son was in a life threatening situation.

I have imagined that moment many times in my mind and I pictured stopping my car, punching my fist through his window and sarcastically apologizing for being across the line while my son was not breathing. See? Anger is contagious! you want to join me on my quest to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry?

Oh, it's Biblical too. Check this out.

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