Anyone reading my entries may notice that I prefer questions to sermons. As a former pastor's son, I certainly have the inclination to preach my opinions. But I am getting older, and starting to assess what has got me into the most trouble over the years.
Probably the biggest one is not listening. As an older-than-average dad of a six-year-old, trying to get her to stop and listen is a big challenge. I'm quite comfortable in thinking that this is more a result of her age than anything else. But, when adults show the signs of not listening in everyday life, I ask other questions.
I work in residential construction, and a fair amount of information passes through me to get the job done right. As often as not, when I order materials or lay out criteria for a project, the end result is only vaguely similar to the specific instructions I have given.
When I was much younger and learning to supervise framing crews, I had a boss who would get to work at quarter to seven and make us all feel late when we got there at three-til. Then he would spend five to seven minutes going through anywhere from a day's to a week's tasks for me and my crew, in explicit detail, then head off to other projects. Weeks later, if he were looking over my work and found one block or one pair of nails out of place, he would say "we went over that."
Just try and approach people that way today. Let me know how it goes.
I want to hear from you about the phenomenon of attentiveness in communication. Here are some seed topics to start you off:
- Are people too distracted by cell phones, social media and the resultant content to focus on what's in front of them?
- Does the attention of some get blurred by their own emotional needs, eagerness to please, fear of disapproval, etc?
- How often is failure to listen a refusal to listen, i.e. a rebellious posture?
- Do any of you find people only responding to words and phrases they reduce to a sort of hyperlink, and react only to what they think the hot buttons make you in their eyes?
Actually, I baited you with the title of this article with words like "reactions" and "ambush" because I am curious about the emotional content of perception. Did you come looking for something that gets your blood boiling, hoping to commiserate with me over it? This is a much bigger topic than just reactiveness, but I chose to say something provocative at the top just to draw an audience, and get the conversation started. Was that necessary, or effective, or even offensive? Let me know.