Just Listen

I remember hearing Elder Marion D. Hanks tell a story long ago -- probably in the early '70's -- where he talked about how important good teachers are and what a difference they make. He mentioned listening as something that is a hallmark of a good teacher. (I think this is coming back to me as I continue to prepare for our Primary Teacher Appreciation meeting tomorrow night).

He told of a man who took his sons on an outing, where they spent a wonderful day together. On the way home, the younger boy fell asleep. His dad laid the little guy softly on the back seat of the car (you can tell this was some time ago!) and covered him gently with his coat. As they continued the drive home, the dad (who was trying to make the day really special and memorable, as well as use any opportunity he could find to teach) asked the older son many questions: "What did you like best? Did you like . . ." and the father would run through the things they had done together that day.

The boy answered dutifully, "Yes, Daddy", to everything his father asked him. After his dad stopped questioning him, he finally had a chance to say what he really wanted to say: "Daddy, if I fell asleep, would you put your coat on me?"

So after all the talking and attempted lesson-teaching, the bottom line was that Dad needed to listen. His son wanted to know if his dad loved him enough to lay him lovingly on the seat and cover him with his coat. Dad just needed to stop and listen to his son. Sure, talk sometimes, but really stop and listen. That's how we build relationships. And in the end, relationships are all that really matter.

I know I talk too much. I need to listen more. What will really matter is how quickly my loving relationships will grow if I do.


Emily said...

What a great thought. Listening is so important. I love to just listen to my kids. They say the cutest stuff. I find that if I try to lead the conversation that I get a lot of "I don't remember".

Shelley said...

Listening was actually mentioned in our lesson today in Sunday School. It's very very important. All he cared about was if he would be loved as much as his little brother. :) Very cute story.

Melissa said...

I agree that we all need to stop and listen more!! We get so busy talking that we miss what is being said!

Wendy said...

such a good idea. i tend to be quick to talk, but slow to listen! always a great reminder!

100 Percent Cottam said...

great story. i'm the same. gotta work on my listening skills.

Cammie said...

Listening is sometimes hard for me. I like to talk and am always busy. What a good reminder to slow down and really listen.