I’m reading a fascinating book right now called The Revolutionary Communicator by Jedd Medefind and Erik Lokkesmoe. The first chapter is about attentiveness, about being all there in the moment, about listening deeply to those in front of us. I have a friend whose ambition is to become a professional listener, to truly, truly listen to people and help them grow. I sent her these quotes tonight. I thought they might bless you too.
“The most desperate need of men today is not a new vaccine for any disease…Man does not need to go to the moon or other solar systems. He does not require bigger and better bombs and missiles…His real need, his most terrible need, is for someone to listen to him, not as a ‘patient,’ but as a human soul.” Taylor Caldwell
“The greatest gift that we can give one another is rapt attention to one another’s existence.” Sue Atchley Ebaugh
“The results of a study of teenage prostitutes in San Fransisco are recounted in the book Am I Making Myself Clear? When asked what they lacked at home that caused them to run away, the girls’ answers came down almost universally to three words: ‘Someone to listen.’” Jedd Medefind, Erik Lokkesmoe
“Most people never listen.” Ernest Hemingway
Silence, according to Don Postema, is often “a deep insight into reality, a capacity to see beneath the surface of nature and people, and awareness that uncovers for us a spiritual vitality in our world, in ourselves—and points us to God.”
“The opposite of talking isn’t listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.” Fran Lebowitz
“Wherever you are, be all there.” Jim Elliot
What wonderful words! Now if only I could be all there, wherever I am. To really listen without distraction. The point of the chapter is that Jesus is all that. As the greatest communicator, He actually was the greatest, most attentive listener, which caused people to flock to Him.
As a communicator, I’m working hard on improving my methods of communication, but if I’m not careful, I’ll forget that what will endear me to others isn’t my great oratory, but the strength of my listening. A lot to think about.