Have you ever noticed that sometimes the best gifts we can give one another are not material things? For example, some days we really need a friendly visit, an encouraging word, or maybe just a listening ear. Too often, when we’re talking to someone, our minds wander, thinking about our own agenda or even maybe what we are going to say when we get the floor. When we really listen to another, we give that person a unique gift. It is the gift of our undivided attention. It means we respect that person and give importance to the conversation. We may not agree with what is being said, but at least we are hearing it accurately. When we don’t listen, we misinterpret, jump to conclusions, and can end up causing real misunderstanding and even conflict. To listen attentively means we recognize the person speaking as another person worthy of our recognition and esteem. A precious gift.
By Margaret Michaud, OSB