It seems a little while now, but earlier this year, I undertook some extended Annual and Long Service Leave. It was aligned with our eldest child completing their secondary schooling and the opportunity to travel, possibly one last time, as a family. One of the most enjoyable aspects of my leave was the opportunity to holiday with my family in the USA. It was a fantastic trip, filled with adventure, experiences and enjoyment. However, one vivid memory was linked to my very unsuccessful belief that my inability to cope physically with theme park rides had miraculously been cured. Whilst at Universal Studios in Florida, I had managed to cope with a couple of tamer escapades, and with blind courage, decided the Simpsons Rollercoaster was for me. After many pieces of wise and considered advice from my family, and numerous visual and verbal warnings from the operators, I had heard much and listened little. Suffice to say that at the ‘click’ of the door that preceded the beginning of the ride, I knew I was in trouble. The bright, colourful, spinning lights, the loud rambling sounds and varied, violent random movements went on and on and on. One hour after this ‘experience’ I began to feel slightly normal again. If only I had listened and not only heard. So, what does ‘good listening’ involve and achieve? As a start, I suggest three ideas:

  1. Good listening requires patience and concentration.
  2. Good listening asks perceptive questions.
  3. Good listening prepares us to respond well.

As we teach and learn, it is important to “listen well”, as it will make a significant difference in the journey and outcome of our relationships and learning.