If Only You Would Listen

I was able to take three of my kids to “School of Rock” yesterday. The production was fabulous. The music was fabulous. Spending time with my kids was fabulous. So there is that….

In the musical, there is a number where the kids are singing to their parents in vignettes where the song is thoughts in their heads. I cried. The lyrics combined with the behavior of the parents up to that point was very moving. The refrain says:

I’ve got so much to say,
if only you would listen.
I’ve tried ev’ry which way,
and still you never listen.
Can’t you see I’m hurting?
I couldn’t be more clear.
But I promise,
one day I’ll make you hear.

As I think about all the people in my life, including my wife and kids, I wonder how often I have failed to listen. No, I don’t have to wonder. I’ve failed far more than I have succeeded. I have all kinds of reasons (excuses) that seem reasonable on the surface.

I’m in the middle of something, can we talk about this later?

You don’t understand now, but when you’re older (have calmed down, had time to think about it, know more) you will see.

How are you? (fine) Me too! See ya….

I have dozens more, but I think you get the point. It is easy to dismiss someone else. We even do it without meaning to or knowing we have. It is really hard to listen. To hear what’s not being said. To be quiet long enough for the other person to gather enough courage to speak. To ask the right questions.

At Kimray it can be even harder, both to listen and to speak. We worry about whether it is appropriate to share our personal lives with our co-workers. We are concerned that people will judge us, think (fill in the blank) about us, or dismiss us. We don’t really want to get involved in other people’s problems. We have enough things on our plate. We don’t know what to say.

I am not recommending that we start having counseling sessions with each other. I’m not proposing that we bare our souls to everyone all the time. I’m not even saying that we have to change much.

I am suggesting that I could be more receptive to hearing what another person is really saying. I think I could find the time to actually want to know how someone is doing when I ask. I know that I would benefit from talking a little less and letting others talk a bit more (I might learn something…)

Sooner or later we are all going to be hurting. We all need someone to listen to us, not fix us, just listen. What if no one at Kimray had to “make” someone hear. That would be fabulous.

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