On the Eight Day of Christmas…

On the eight day of Christmas, an extra ordinary Jamaican gave to me:

The respect of listening.



Click to listen

Jamaicans have always valued listening.  This is rooted in our strong oral tradition which has created good listeners of us especially in the area of story telling.  We love to listen to Anancy stories, duppy stories, Bible stories, and any story, true or false.  Therefore, we are convinced that listening is undoubtedly one of our greatest personal natural resources. Yet, it is by far one of our most underdeveloped abilities.  We need keener listening skills as we move into a multi-cultural world that is driven by collaboration, trust, and networking.   People skills have risen to the top of important skills in the new economy.   Yet, with all these listening demands, we teach our children only to read, write, and speak, but make no deliberate effort to teach them to listen. 

Not listening costs, and most are not even aware of the reasons for the penalty.  Not listening costs, because it devalues the speaker, creates an atmosphere of disrespect, promotes illness, and is the cause of many forms of violence.
On the other hand, listening is rewarding.  It is healing, profitable, motivational, and, above all, it sends a strong message to the speaker that, “you are valued and respected.   We have not listened well and we have paid the penalty.  As we gather with friends and family to celebrate this festive season, let us elevate listening to the place where it is practiced regularly and deliberately. 


 Wait a minute! Just before the Christmas music strikes or the storytelling begins, let us take a moment to reflect and be prepared to model to the next generation these five principles of listening.

  •  1. Pay attention.  Stay with the speaker and listen wholeheartedly with an open mind. 
  • 2. Be patient. Listening takes time but the reward far exceeds the investment. 
  • 3. Hold your tongue.  Don’t be too quick to interrupt others, to tell your story, or to give unsolicited advice.
  • 4. Lead out.  Be a listening role model.  Proactive listening is a particularly high expectation of effective leaders, managers, parents, and educators.
  •   5. Listen quickly. Be a ready listener.  “Dearly beloved, let every man be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.  James 1:19.



 ‘Tis the season to be listening – Fa la la la la la la la la

Showing you care is better than spending –  Fa la la la la la la la la

Taking time to truly listen – Fa la la la la la la la la
Make peace and joy our New Year’s mission – Fa la la la la la la la la!!!


However you celebrate, wherever you celebrate, and whoever you celebrate with, we wish you a season filled with joy, gratitude, peace, respect and most of all, LISTENING! 



Marva Shand-McIntosh , Listening Institute founder 

I love to Listen Day – May 16th.

This international day of listening is celebrated  in over 20 countries.

Listening website

How will you practice this gift with a family member?



About the author


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.