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R U Listening?

(picture uploaded to Flickr by quinn.anya)

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I am pretty frustrated with having to send my computer BACK in for repairs. I had sent in my computer to have DVD drive replaced as well as my trackpad button. I also had been having problems which I chalked up to hard drive problems. I explained my hard drive issues to the tech who quickly dismissed my concerns over and over and over again. He assured me that there was nothing wrong with my hard drive. Apparently, unexplained crashes and having to reinstall the operating system have nothing to do with hard drive failure…

This past week at camp (the explanation for the absence of posts this past week), my hard drive failed. It’s gone… caput… bye bye…

After talking with the nice people in support at Apple, I now get to send my computer back to the service center to get the hard drive replaced!!! If only the tech had listened to me in the first place!

I know, I know… He probably talks to a lot of clueless people about their computer problems… people who think they know stuff about computers but really don’t… I’m not one of those! I knew there was a problem with the hard drive! I told him there was a problem with the hard drive! Now, he gets to spend more time fixing my computer…

What does all this ranting about this service technician have to do with Elemental Children’s Ministry? This is a blog, after all, that is about children’s ministry.

Well, here it is… a question:

Are you listening?

That’s it! That’s the question! “Are you listening?”

  • Are you listening to the kids you come in contact with?
  • Are you listening to the parents?
  • Are you listening to your volunteers?
  • Are you listening?

I know that sometimes I don’t listen. I don’t really hear what is being said. Sometimes I am so busy formulating an answer in my head that I don’t listen.

It is so easy for us to make snap judgements about kids, parents, volunteers, co-workers, leaders, etc. We assume that we know more about situations than we really do. We assume that those coming to us with suggestions, for help, etc. know less than they really do. We then spout off answers or reasons that are incomplete, ill-informed, and leave those coming to us wondering if we really care.

It’s easy to answer questions. It’s harder to listen to the questioner.

4 Responses to “R U Listening?”

  1. J Christopher Doss August 20, 2009 at 5:53 pm #

    You are on to something. This isn't just a ministry problem either but a human condition issue. Marriages fail, business go under, and friendships are destroyed for the same reason. The good news is that listening is a learned skill and not a hard one at that. Next time I get in a conversation with somebody I will purposefully take time to answer so I can give time to listen. Great post

    • henryjz August 28, 2009 at 2:06 pm #

      Glad you liked the post. Isn't great that we CAN learn to listen. I'd be in HUGE trouble if not :)

  2. jcisonline August 26, 2009 at 6:16 pm #

    Great post. Love it. Gotta work on listening even though sometimes we feel like we might be the expert.

    Humbling Post Henry! You rock!

    • henryjz August 28, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

      It is a constant struggle to listen, first, without trying to formulate answers.

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