Beyond Kindness Tour: Kindness is listening

 When you think of kindness, what do you think of? I'm guessing that listening isn't the first thing that comes to mind. I was reading through some quotes about kindness this morning and none mentioned listening. Listening is an art. It really is. If we really stop and think about it, often times we listen with the intention of how we will respond, rather than to understand. We listen thinking a response is required. We get antsy just waiting for the other person to stop talking so we can give our advice and opinion. As parents sometimes we seem to tune out our kids sometimes, especially if the other parent is in the room. 

The last several days Facebook news feeds are filled with controversy, opinion, and anger. As I watch videos, articles and read comments, I'm amazed at how quick we are to turn off our listening skills in favor of speaking our opinions. I have my own thoughts, but I will be the first to admit I don't truly understand it all...I haven't taken time to sit and speak with individuals to understand where they are coming from. So I'm trying to read and watch and "listen", to try and understand both sides. I still may keep my opinion, but I don't really need to share it unless someone asks, because I honestly feel like at this point it all just sounds like a clanging gong! Nothing really beneficial has come out of it. I've seen more "un"kindness than anything else.

Kindness is listening. That was the focus of the first week of the Beyond Kindness Tour. As I sat and read the 23 ways to be kind through listening I thought "I do pretty good", and "Oh, yah, I could work on that". I want to be an active listener no matter who I come in contact with, even if it's the cashier at the grocery store, or a person I have a hard time with. I don't ever want to write anyone off. My desire is that each person I come in contact with feels valuable! No matter who they are or where I run into them. Whether I will ever see them again in my life. Whether I agree with them or not. 

How about this one:

#17...Validate their perspective even though you may not agree. They have their own reason why they hold that opinion or belief. Be accepting of that. 

Hmmmm....that's a tough one sometimes. Especially when we think our perspective is the right and sometimes only one. If are really honest, we would admit that we each have some place to improve in our listening skills because even with the best intentions, we could be missing the whole point. 

I encourage you to go to the link above and download the list. It's a good one. 

I'm a talker, so I need to learn to slow down, let others talk, sometimes just listen, without even saying anything, keep myself from jumping into a conversation, and even welcome silence. That's a tough one for me sometimes. I'm getting better, but can always use the practice. 

What if we just stopped for a moment and listened to what was going on around us, to practice tuning in to the sounds, the voices wherever we are, on a walk, in a coffee shop. What if we met someone for coffee and as we chatted, we tuned in to listen with our ears, with our eyes, to hear and see what they are saying. What if we allowed silence to happen so that maybe we can listen to something deeper, maybe Papa nudging us with an encouraging word for that person, or just their ability to process what they have said on their own, because sometimes people just need to talk out loud. 

How about you? Can you practice listening a bit more? I love the following two quotes I found online today. They are both very fitting! I'll leave you to ponder them this week.

With Joy Unquenchable,


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