Last week I encountered a bazaar conversation that made me wonder who had trained the receptionist I was talking with on the phone. It was really quite a simple request. The conversation went something like this.
“I’d like to make a follow-up appointment for my son on Wednesday, December 17,” I stated in a matter of fact tone.
“He has an opening on Friday, December 5.”
“No, my son will still be away at college. I’m hoping for the 17th,” I continued.
“The doctor is out of the office from the 15th through the 19th.”
“Bummer, I was really hoping to schedule that week.”
“We could schedule him on the 16th”.
“But you just told me he is not in the office that week!!”
By this time I was more than frustrated!
The truth of the matter is that this is the condensed version of a more than 5 minute conversation that I really didn’t have time for. That was after all the prompts that I had to get through just to talk to her. I felt like I was spinning my wheels with someone who truly wasn’t listening to a word I had uttered.
After hanging up the phone, I quickly ran to get a shower. Ugh, now I was going to be late for an afternoon meeting!
Lathering my hair with shampoo, in the silence of the moment, my brain went into hyper-critical mode. “I can’t believe what a frustrating experience I had with this woman! I’ve never encountered anyone that bad on the phone before! She was unbelievable!”
As I stood with water pelting from above, ranting to the walls of my shower, a still small voice came from somewhere within me.
“How many times were the words you had to say more numerous than just letting your kid talk?” God seemed to whisper.
“What about the details you always tend to miss because you don’t think the story your child is telling you is important so you let your mind wonder to other things?”
” You think your agenda trumps theirs because you’re the parent, so you speak and expect them to listen. Then you get mad if they don’t get all the details.”
“How many times have you only heard their tone, but not their heart?”
“Are you listening, Debbie, really listening to the full communication of what they are saying? Do you advantage of the whole communication process? Do you listen, give eye contact, watch the body language, and try not to frustrate them? What about your heart? Are you trying to connect with them with your heart.
“Oh, Lord, forgive me for all the times I haven’t really listened! Help me to listen with my ears, my mind, and my heart.”
He who answers before listening—that is his folly and his shame
Bottom Line: Parents, just like the receptionist hadn’t been trained to listen well, we need to remember that even if we haven’t been good listeners to our children in the past, we can learn the skills and choose to do it from here on out. May God give you time and patience to learn to listen well so that you can develop heartfelt communication before they leave the nest. That time will come sooner than you think.
Learning the same truths over and over again along with you!
“Let go…and Let God,”