Readers write: March 26, 2018 issue

March 21, 2018 | Viewpoints | Volume 22 Issue 7
Various Contributors |

It’s important to listen well

Re: The skill and soul of listening,” and “What kind of Mennonite?” (Feb. 12, pages 16 and 2, respectively).

The Bible refers often to listening; Proverbs expounds the value of listening and so do Jesus, Paul, Peter and James. But social media bombards us with all sorts of information so that it becomes difficult to listen critically and be able to discern what is fake news and what is truth. This can easily lead to premature conclusions and judgment. To pass judgment without listening carefully can be hurtful.

When I was still teaching and had difficult students, I would consult their counsellor to find out about their background. When I returned to the classroom after that inquiry, I could listen and relate differently to them.

True listening is an art and it requires skill. We should not only listen with our ears—but also with our heart and even with our eyes—to read the body language of the person facing us, which will reveal his or her attitude and emotions.

I once stepped onto a bus and saw a young man alone in the back row, his head in his hands sobbing. I sat down quietly beside him. After a short while he looked at me questioningly. I spoke kindly to him and he told me his story. I listened intently and gave him some encouraging words. When he left, he thanked me for listening.

And there is listening expectantly to our inner voice, which often reveals truth and solutions that we could not detect with our mind. Recently, a friend of mine told me, “I am so glad I can tell you anything that concerns me, and you listen to me.”

We may make a difference in the life of a person if we are able and willing to listen.
—Helmut Lemke, Vancouver

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