The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard;
Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?(Edward Hersey Richards) Walked in on a quarrel the other day, heard some words which were best left unsaid and it turned out that the verbal strife was caused by one of the parties mishearing someone else. Well now, what a carry on! An outbreak of war of the ear splitting kind because some one had only half an ear for something said, passed it one and then got fired up and armed to the teeth with language of the invective kind! Invective? That’s a good word for a Wednesday evening, better than some of the words used on this occasion at least. Are you a good listener, my apology to anyone who is deaf – just like to say that having watched deaf people sign, you are all pretty good at listening your way, and excellent when it comes to reading lips and body language and all those other things which I might not ‘see’ – some deaf people are better at ‘listening and hearing it right’ then some hearing folk might think.
Being a ‘good listener’ is not such a natural gift as we might think either, we can learn how to be a ‘good listener’ and with self discipline and patience we can all achieve a measure of proficiency in this area. I am sure we have all known times when we needed to get things off our chest, think things out aloud and have valued the discrete friend who just sat there, took it all and said nothing… hush … not to a soul, and never mentioned it again to us either, unless of course, we asked…
‘Oh, that I had someone to hear me,’ says Job (31:35) He had listeners alright. But getting their two bits in was more important than really listening to poor old Job and to blame easier than to have compassion.
James, bless him, might have learnt his wisdom the hard way too, most of us do, ‘everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry’ (James 1:19)
Me? well I am still learning, and taking to heart this saying from Proverbs (1:5)
‘…let the wise listen and add to their learning.’I would rather be known as a wise old owl than a fire-belching dragon.