Instead of asking my friends “how are you?”, I ask them “tell me a story.” This way, it eliminates a simple response of “fine” and starts hopefully a better conversation.
This is Jean Vanier, a Canadian, founder of L’Arche, home for people with intellectual disability. He opened his home in France and started taking care of two individuals. Now, L’Arche became international dedicating what Jean started in 1964. He turned 90 last year.
Jean’s life work has been to teach us about the importance of listening… to ourselves, others, to the suffering around us, and to God.
Here’s what Nathan Ball of L’Arche USA thoughts on listening.
How do we connect with someone, develop quality relationships, express genuine love, or show a person that we truly value them? We listen to their story. Our deepest human need is not for people to fix our problems, but to listen to us.
We hurt and get angry when we are not listened to. “Would you please just stop talking and listen to me?”
Want to give someone a gift? Simply take the time to listen. Over coffee or on a walk. On the phone or through a video call. Tell your friend, significant other, child, co-worker, or neighbor that you’d like to listen. “What’s going on inside of you these days?” “What’s hard?” “Where do you experience gratitude?”
Turn off your phone and open your heart. Invite someone to tell you a little of their story, from long ago, or today, or their dream for tomorrow. It matters!
Have a blessed day.