Wednesday, October 17, 2012

listen


In the past five-ish years of engaging in social media and navigating this strange new land, the thing that has caused me the most forehead-slapping, wanting to TYPE IN ALL CAPS frustration, is the lack of empathy I observe between people.

I want to believe that this is so glaring, so alarming, on facebook due to the communication gap.  Brevity does little to open up understanding.

But on my gloomier days I fear we are becoming an unsympathetic culture.

And I don't know but I wonder if our loss of basic emotional understanding of one another has a lot to do with our loss of stories. People are much more than the very little I know about them.  People are made up of stories.  There are years of history attached to that one fact I am judging, and generations of stories before that.

It is much easier to know people detached from their stories.  I do it all the time; I stay up late to watch the Presidential debates, but when Jim is watching the stories of the candidates on Frontline, I say no thanks I am going to bed. Isn't it much more accurate to vote based on a person's story, than on their ability to argue?

(Maybe this is why of all social media, I still prefer blogs.  There are stories here).

Of any parenting practice, I have found one of the most generous, most meaningful acts I can do is to kneel when my children are speaking to me. I don't always remember.  But when I do, their eyes open wider.  Their words become firmer.  They are soothed and satisfied, because they have been heard.  Understood. It makes all the difference.  Almost always, listening changes my response as well.



(This is part three on living with Story)

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