Friday, March 04, 2011

Listening...

Frodo reading...
I'm basically a stay at home Hobbit-type person.  Especially when I have a stack of unread books to enjoy, a new box of my favorite Green Mountain Breakfast Blend K-cups, Splenda in the sugar bowl, and real cream in the frig.

However, yesterday took me away from home early and for hours running errands.  I was tired as I drove home but when the cell phone rang and it was Christopher, asking if I wanted to meet him for lunch... I immediately said yes!  He had finished his exam and a lunch break was just what the doctor ordered.  Thankfully, I was just on the outskirts of town where I could easily turn around and head for the heart of campus.

I must stick to a tight budget but there are days when "lunch out" to listen to a loved one... mixed with spending time which could be used elsewhere but most needed here... is the best use of resources.  Stephanie and I can practically communicate through our thoughts, we think so much alike.  Christopher, on the other hand, is much like me in that we enjoy comfortable silence as well as good conversation.

Both were observed as I enjoyed a vegetarian Pad Thai and he literally inhaled pasta.  First there was shared silence as he was mentally retaking the brutal exam and my thoughts were scattered... mainly on what needed to be accomplished at home.  Then as good food brought... as my father-in-law would often say... the life back to our bones... we were ready to talk and listen and whine (it was a terrible exam) and commiserate as we both were experiencing sinus pressure.  But mostly I listened.

My husband often bemoans the fact that when the kids (both grown up, of course) call home they usually want to talk to me.  I've tried to explain to him... usually of no avail... that it is because I listen.  They call him for advice but to talk... it's Mom. 

I learned long ago in my former life in Human Resources and Organization Development that a whole lot can be accomplished by just listening.  Most people know the answers to their problems... they just need someone to talk to.  Of course, I'm the type of mother who thinks my children are just about the smartest, most creative, amazing people on the planet... so I love to listen to them.  ;)

Listening is something we can all do, it just requires time and attention.  Even the bedridden can have a listening ministry.  Grandmothers and grandfathers can listen.  A job loss can affect us financially but a blessing in disguise is when it gives one more time to listen.

Sometimes listening is done best as two or more work together such as washing dishes or dusting furniture or sewing or gardening or any such activity which is conducive to sharing thoughts without eye contact... especially for chats where feelings can be hurt or the subject is rather uncomfortable.

There are those occasions when reading the same book or watching a movie makes for an opportunity to listen to another... after the reading and the watching have occurred.  Francis Schaeffer often talked about the importance of reading and watching what is most important in the culture right now (not that which is defiling, of course) to provide a shared basis to discuss... and to listen.

In our family, some of the best talking and listening has taken place at a restaurant or coffee shop.  Especially when the desire was one on one conversation.  Then there is the listening a mother becomes quite adept at as the older child arrives home late in the evening and a cup of tea and perhaps a snack is made ready as the events of the day are shared by lamplight.

I plan to stay home today.  Rain is beating against the window and there is laundry to be done and meals prepared and dishes washed and perhaps some baking to... all done a little at a time with limited energy... last night's book awaiting with the bookmark reminding where the reading stopped as the eyes grew weary and ready to sleep.  My inner Hobbit is home.

13 comments:

Denise said...

It was so nice to read your post this morning.I could identify very well with your motherly thoughts and your fondness for hobbits.

John'aLee said...

Amazing post. Thank you!

Becky K. said...

It is the most fulfilling thing I know of to have our grown children still want to spend time with us. Our Mikey has found that living on his own isn't quite as thrilling as he once thought it would be. He comes home as often as he possibly can. We get to practice our listening skills as he expresses his joys and his worries.

Thanks for sharing this reminder about how important it is to take the time to listen.

Vee said...

Listening...what a gift you have! Wonder if there are lessons for listening. That picture of Frodo reading in the tree is wonderful. That's how I'm picturing you today even though it's really rainy and probably chilly in your corner. I'll have to imagine the tree going up through your living room. ;>

jackie said...

i can so relate to this post. i, too, am a Hobbit who at times must spend more time out and about than i really enjoy, but this, too, is a season of life.
"Of course, I'm the type of mother who thinks my children are just about the smartest, most creative, amazing people on the planet... so I love to listen to them. ;)" i couldn't have said it better myself! My 4 are all grown but i have such wonderful memories of our talk, especially late nights when we couldn't sleep or they came in late. Even now, i am so amazed at the wonderful, intelligent, wise people they are and i can sit and talk with them for hours.
Have a happy day today!

Lisa said...

I really enjoyed this post!

Christy@WickedHappy said...

What a lovely post! I'm going to remember this for when my little ones are bigger. You are right. Listening is so important. I often call my parents to talk things out too. I'll have to remember how good they've been to me, when I'm on the other end of calls from my own children in the years ahead. Thanks for posting this.

Mrs.Rabe said...

Great reminder about listening. I need to listen more and talk less.

Thanks
Deanna

hmsclmom said...

Loved this post Brenda! When my children were younger, I tried to have "dates" with them even though I was with them 24/7 as a homeschooling mom. I wanted to give them each individual mom time where my attention was not divided between them all. ;) As they became adults, they would call me and we would still have our "mom/son" dates. Now that I have a beautiful DIL, she and I also do this. I get phone calls on almost a daily basis from at least one of my kids, just to talk and now can actually see 2 of my sons via SKYPE when we talk over the internet. One of my sons is currently in the Middle East with the Air Force and we talked via Skype for 1 1/2 hours yesterday...sheer Mom Heaven!

Be blessed and enjoy curling up with your books...I am doing the same thing here as I battle the flu.

Blessings!

Heather said...

Brenda - I really enjoyed this post and I needed the reminder. I need to brush up on my listening skills, especially now that we've reached the teen years. I've learned that with our Dreamer what cannot be expressed face to face will come out readily side by side in the car, so I've taken to inviting our girl to come on errands with me - though it always adds a little something to my shopping basket I think it is well worth the price!

Anonymous said...

Your posts are always enjoyable. Your mention of Keurig K-cups presented a question. Do you find the K-cups more expensive than just buying coffee for a coffee maker? We're also on a tight budget and have felt a Keurig too expensive (with the initial purchase over $100 and the cost of K-cups). Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm also blessed with two of the most wonderful children, even if they do drive me crazy at times. They are both in their early 20's now, but still will talk to their momma. I always liked to eat dinner at the dining room table, but we didn't do it very often. I found that they would talk more when we were in the living room watching television shows that teenagers like to watch. The shows opened up doors to subjects that we probably never would have discussed at the table. It was a blessing to hear their thoughts on the matters and realize that the years of trying to show them Christ's love and His ways sunk in. My daughter, who is in the middle of getting her masters in counseling, thinks it was a wise and sneaky tactic of mine. Seriously, she said wise!! I'm still in shock. ; )

Valerie

Senkyoushi said...

Thanks, I needed this today. My kids are leaving the nest and I need to listen more and give advice less.