Listen and Pay Attention
Love requires attention. It takes effort. And it is an act of will.
Thoughts taken from The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
One act of love is listening. “Listening well is an exercise of attention and by necessity hard work. It is because they do not realize this or because they are not willing to do the work that most people do not listen well.” One of my all-time favorite quotes is David Oxberg’s. He said, “Being listened to is so close to being loved, that most people cannot tell the difference.”
Listening is the most significant attention you can give someone. Children have different needs for attentive listening. Young children who chatter a lot mostly need to know you are close by. Older children need a more attentive parent when they have something to say and need to be heard.
We are all busy and pressed for time. Listening—done well, takes time.
Having family meals together is a great time for listening. Conversation starters can be purchased online and give stimulating table topics. Besides the bond, it can create within the family statistics show that in families that have at least five dinners together a week the teens chances of smoking, drinking and using drugs is drastically lowered. For more see “8 Reasons to make Time for Family Dinner.”
Family bonding occurs when we take the time to listen to one another.
Children, regardless of age, never outgrow the need for listening parents. “True listening, total concentration on the other, is always a manifestation of love.”
Yes, it takes work. Paying attention to the one you love may be an effort.
“If an act is not one of work or courage, then it is not an act of love. There are no exceptions.” – M. Scott Peck
Loving takes courage. It is risky. It can be painful. The person you love may die or reject you. You may experience heartache.
The alternative is to isolate your self. I recall a time when I chose to bury myself in work and parenting rather than deal with dating. I didn’t want to risk the pain that I was all too familiar with. I knew I never, ever wanted to experience the heartache of rejection again. So I stayed away from social situations that might lead to a possible relationship. Until I realized my children would soon be grown. They wouldn’t need me anymore, then what? My work was draining and not providing very little satisfaction. I stepped out. I took the risk into the unknown territory. I did get my heart-broken. And yet the circumstances ultimately turned in my favor. The leap was worth it.
If someone is determined not to risk pain, then such a person must do without many things: having children, getting married, the ecstasy of sex, the hope of ambition, friendship—all that makes life alive, meaningful and significant. Move out or grow in any dimension and pain as well as joy will be your reward. A full life will be full of pain. But the only alternative is not to live fully or not to live at all. M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled
February is the love month. You will see it everywhere. If you are alone I hope it doesn’t depress you. True love begins within. You must love yourself first and foremost.
Related article – “9 Scientifically Proven Reasons to Eat Dinner as a Family”
I am a Certified Professional Coach and I hold a degree from Lamar University in Speech and a Master’s from the University of Texas. I married Sam after raising three children as a single mother. I was an educator in regular and special education for twenty years, finishing my professional career as a Braille teacher. In 2007 I founded SMORE for Women. SMORE is a nonprofit association whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, and Empowered. My stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. My Website.