metinking

On the 7th. day of Christmas, a Jamaican gives to you – the heart of Listening

“History repeats itself because no one listened the first time.”

 I read this quotation and wondered if  there’s a part of Jamaica’s history that keeps repeating itself.

.

Jamaica has branded itself as a country of athletic and cultural excellence, however, there is a vexing side of our culture that seems to have a choke hold on us.  Crime. 

.

Do you think that it would make a difference in the crime rate if one of the trademarks of our country was listening?  

With such a trademark Jamaicans would be branded as exceptional listeners. 

ear.jpg

.

A group of people who, as the poem says, “listen without interrupting, without prejudging, without discounting, and without second guessing.”  Jamaicans would be known as people who “listen with attention, with respect, with patience and with understanding.”

.

Does being exceptional listeners means we would have a silent country? Of course not.  It means that we would have a balanced style of communicating.  It also means that children would listen to parents, and parents to children; leaders would listen to followers and followers to leaders; and most of all, there would be many listening role models for the young to emulate. 

listeningcontemp_small_small.jpg

.

We would now have a balance between the use of the carrot and the stick, as well as a balance between nurturing and accountability.

.

Listening is a core value that girds the underpinning of other essential values such as love, respect, engagement, collaboration, networking and many more.

.

Interestingly enough, listening is a team sport.  Just like our athletes we need to practice this sport with vigor and discipline.  I agree that listening is a complex skill that takes a lifetime to hone but it can be done.  

The benefits of listening out weighs the challenges and after all, we are JamaiCANs.

lisw.jpg

.

 Let’s not wait for the government to endorse listening, the musicians to sing about it, the schools to teach it. or the ministers to preach it from the pulpits.  Let’s be proactive about our personal listening habits.  In doing so, here are some questions for our reflection. 

.

Are we born good listeners or do we have to learn how to become one? 
Who has had the most significant effect on your listening skills?
How would becoming a much better listener change your life?
Can you identify the good listeners in your life?
Can you identify the annoying listeners in your life?
Where would you put myself on any of these lists?

How did you feel the last time when someone really listened to you?How did you feel the last time someone when someone interrupted or second guessed you?

 .

Acknowledging that we all have listening challenges, what am I going to do about my listening skills?

.

During this holiday season give the gift of listening.  It is a guaranteed way to help someone experience some of the greatest human needs, that is to feel understood, valued, and appreciated.   Jamaicans uniting around the core value of listening is a sure way to start the release of the choke hold of crime and to write a new page in our country’s history book.

.

 Sunday, May 16, 2010 is the 5th celebration of I Love to Listen Day.  Join us! 

.

marva.jpg
Marva Shand McIntosh is the founder of “I Love to Listen Day.”  

She conducts listening workshops.

 Contact her at [email protected]  


Quotations in the article are from the poem, “Today I Will Listen.”

About the author

metinking

I am an entrepreneur whose focus is on helping small businesses deploy internet marketing tools to leverage new customers and profits. I believe in the survival of the knitted, and thus champion those who are making a difference in our community.