If you place two little girls in a room with only two moveable chairs the little girls will position the chairs so they can look face to face as they talk. If you place two little boys in a room with only two moveable chairs the little boys will sit side by side not looking at each other as they talk. The same pattern of behavior continues through adolescence and on into adulthood. If men have a choice they are more likely to sit as if they were in a car rather than over a small dining table.
The art of good communication is a skill that involves not only the ability to articulate one’s thoughts but also includes being a good listener. So often when someone is talking we are not listening to what they are saying but waiting for them to take a breath so we can interject our thoughts. Listening to ourselves seems for many to be more interesting than listening to others. What is discouraging about that is we seldom learn anything when we are talking. After all what we are saying is what we already know. Usually it is only via listening that we learn.
In I Kings 19 God spoke to Elijah in a still small voice. It is His favorite form of communication. It is difficult to hear a still small voice when we are holding forth. No wonder in Psalm 46 God told us to be still and know Him.
Listening is an art.
Written by Roger Bothwell on September 24, 2006.
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