The following is an excerpt from The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck.
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For true listening, no matter how brief, requires tremendous effort.
First of all, it requires total concentration. You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time. If a parent wants to truly listen to a child, the parent must put aside everything else. The time of true listening must be devoted solely to the child; it must be the child’s time. If you are not willing to put aside everything, including your own worries and preoccupations for such a time, then you are not willing to truly listen.
Second, the effort required for total concentration on the words of a six-year-old child is considerably greater than that required for listening to a great lecturer. The child’s speech patterns are uneven – occasional rushes of words interspersed with pauses and repetitions – which makes concentration difficult. Then the child will usually be talking of matters that have no inherent interest for the adult, whereas the great lecturer’s audience is specifically interested in the topic of his speech.
In other words, it is dull to listen to a six-year-old, which makes it doubly difficult to keep concentration focused. Consequently truly listening to a child of this age is a real labor of love. Without love to motivate the parent it couldn’t be done.
But why bother?
Picture Quote Text:
“Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.” ~ Catherine M. Wallace