Footsteps in Faith: How listening can generate dividends

| April 14, 2017 | 0 Comments


Chaplain (Capt.) Maya Dietz
3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment
25th Division Artillery
25th Infantry Division
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — We are a culture of telling. Google makes us instant experts on everything, and we make sure people know it.

Reality TV and social media glorify narcissism. We have learned to share our every thought and action hoping something will go viral, getting thousands of likes in an age of TMI. We reward Type A, life-of-the-party types more than we do introverts.

We are definitely uncomfortable with silence, which is why we can’t even hike anymore without playing music on our smartphones. And how often do we find in our relationships that we are just talking over each other. Each swears he said something that the other person swears she never heard.

Yes, we are much better at telling than listening.

Telling vs. listening
But are we more content wiser or more secure after all this telling? How often are we surprised at other people’s actions, assuming they must be crazy to do or say such a thing, such as during the last elections?

Is it possible that we were just missing part of the story that was there to hear all along if only we listened carefully? And when we feel most hopeless and frustrated, often all we really want to do is scream, “Listen to me!” But the reality is that what we need to do is stop telling and start listening.

Proverbs, chapter 1, verse 5, says, “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.”

Footsteps in FaithTrue wisdom is developed with listening, not in talking. When we listen to our Soldiers, we hear their stories and we learn what motivates them, making us more effective leaders.

When we listen to our partners, we learn their love language, and can strengthen the foundation of our relationship by giving them what they say they need, instead of what we think they need.

When we seek out and listen to mentors, we improve our own effectiveness.

Spiritual listening
The importance of listening is also true in our spiritual lives. There is a rich tradition of listening in almost all faith traditions. It might be called prayer or meditation.

It is a time when we shut out all the busyness in our lives and thoughts, and really listen for the still, small voice of the divine. It raises our consciousness above the chaos of life in the 21st century, and places it into deep communion with a spiritual sense of love, a spiritual sense of truth, a spiritual sense of life.

As we are more attuned to the wisdom of the all-knowing, we can respond more calmly and rationally to the inevitable shocks of life. Research has even shown that people who meditate or pray regularly are healthier, physically and mentally.

Listening dividends
As you learn to be a better listener, both to others and to the deeper forces in life, your behavior will change. As you change, you will attract others who want the steadiness and intelligence you exhibit. In your own small way, you can start a revolution.

The more we become a listening culture, rather than a telling one, the more productive, effective and compassionate we as a country can become.
(Editor’s note: Dietz is the battalion chaplain for 3-7th FA.)


Category: Footsteps in Faith

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