Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Can You Hear Me?

Working (and now living) with children on a daily basis, I've always felt a bit attuned to their simple desire to be heard.

They've all got their own little strategies to bend your ear  - from a shy cuddle and whispered story, to getting under your feet constantly, to simply yelling out over the top of anyone else whenever the urge  strikes.

Often all an upset child wants is a sympathetic ear, a look of understanding and a gentle rub on the shoulder.
So often, the magic ice pack or miraculous band aid don't even need to make an appearance if you simply stop and listen.

So many kids will happily follow adults like the Pied Piper in the classroom or on duty, just merrily filling us in on the minutiae of their precious lives.

More often than not, serial 'dobbers' are just little people who are trying to find ways to be listened to.

Sometimes it's far more serious than that, of course.
But the first step in recognising those circumstances is in the listening too.

He. talks. non. stop.
And I'm not exaggerating.
I know it drives some people around the bend - myself included on a bad day.

But he doesn't often whinge or argue, he just loves to chat (to put it mildly).
He has a lot of questions he would love answered and little stories to tell.
Again, he often just wants me (or whoever is 'lucky' enough to be bombarded) to make some sort of appropriate listening sound along the way or at least acknowledge his question.

When I'm feeling less than enamoured by that gorgeous, relentless voice coming at me I catapult myself to years ahead when I know I'll long for a decent conversation with my boy.
When grunts, single syllables and attitude may well be my companions instead.

But, it's not confined to children this innate desire to share and to be heard.
I think it's universal.

It's the cornerstone of Facebook's astronomical success.
It's why many of us blog.
It why a great number of new (and old) Mums love their mothers' group.
It's why the blank, impassive face of a partner or friend can feel like a kick in the guts when we put something out there.

I think we all want to feel that somebody, somewhere is picking up what we're putting down, you know?!

I'm guilty of being a poor listener at times - and it's something I regularly vow to work on.

I need to slow down, disregard the clock. Interrupt less. Remember the details. Avoid the tendency to 'solve' the issue. Put my phone down - unless the person is on the other end! Make eye contact. Ask better questions. Paraphrase. Read between the lines.

I'm blessed to have some seriously fabulous listeners in my life - and it's such a gift.

You hear me?

Linking with Jane's 'Post Of The Month Club'.
Come have a listen.

Shar :-)


Corinne – Daze of My Life said...

I LOVE this post. So beautiful, so true and so what I needed to hear this morning.

I hope you don't mind if I share it on my FB page?

Miss Mandy said...

Magoo sounds just like my son, chatter chatter chatter, it never stops and to top it off my daughter has announced 'singing is my new hobby' tie those two together and it's interesting to say the lest.
I love your little reminders that when kids are hanging off us busting to share stuff it's because they're actually busting to share stuff not be a pain in the backside.

Mama of 2 boys said...

Oh I hear you Shar, loud AND clear. There is really something to be said for good listeners. I always know when what I have had to say has truly been taken on board by someone... when it is not, it DOES make you feel a little less important in their world.
I like to pride myself on actually hearing people too, not just listening. But there is always room for improvement, so it doesn't hurt to brush up on the skills now and then.
And you are so right, I think it's why many of us are so addicted to blogging and facebooking... there are good things to be said for both of these forms xoxo

Tales of a Tai Tai said...

Love this post Shar! I have a few good listeners in my life. And they are gold. Such an important message about listening to the little ones. Thanks for the reminder xx

Jane said...

A fab post, Shar. I can totally relate, of course. There's never a quiet moment on Planet Baby with the pixies about! You and Julie are top-notch listeners and incredibly intuitive -I'm so pleased to have you both in my life. J x

Karla {Ironmum Karla} said...

Yep, chatterboxes here- my gosh it doesn't stop. I love how they think you know everything as well. That theory is slowly going out the window though. X

Sonia LifeLoveandHiccups said...

Oh I hear you and when it comes to the kids I am so guilty. You are incredibly right again oh wise one. My boys just natter natter natter and I end up switching off because I am busy, but I could be missing some of the most important bits of info I need to figure out who the REAL little person is that is talking to me. All three of them usually talk at me at once, and we all just get frustrated, so I have been making a conscious effort to have a one on one chat at least once a day with each of them.
And as for dobbers - I never thought of it in that way, they are just looking for a way to be heard. Oh you really are a wise one gorgeous girl. xx

Sonia LifeLoveandHiccups said...

And how cute are those gumboots by the way!

Melissa Jane said...

I hear you - whenever I am thinking that I wish they would just be quiet for 5 minutes, my mind flashes forward 10 years to the grunting stage too.

Kate Sins said...

My two chatter, chatter, chatter away, even the 16 month old. If I send you my phone number maybe we can hook up Magoo and Chatterbox - they can both chatter to their hearts' content!

I'm not such a good listener but I'm conscious of it so am working on it.

Jane said...

Thanks for linking up for the POTMC, Shar. You already know my thoughts on this delightful post about your gorgeous Magoo. Ooh, I wish I could just reach through the screen and cuddle him! J x

Lea said...

I have a little of Magoo in myself-okay a lot! As well as a little Magoo of my own. Beautiful post!

Gina said...

That's a really good message and one I will try to reflect on! I have already got one of my kids in the teenage zone and I can see the importance of enjoying the time where they want to tell you everything!