Slow to Listen…Really Slow!

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                 November 9, 2016

                                    

Frank Luntz is a CBS new correspondent who has covered elections and done group interviews for two and a half decades. Last Sunday night 60 Minutes aired parts of an interview that he had with a mixed group of voters. Luntz left that interview a bit downcast because of the outrage of the group that communicated several things.

One of those key learnings he pointed to was that people don’t listen. That might sound simple and uncomplicated, and yet there’s a lot more behind it. He made the point that he lost control of the group five minutes in. People wanted to talk, but people didn’t want to listen. The presidential election simply mirrors that fact in our nation. People are slow to listen…really, really slow!

Another way of stating it is “I’m going to say something and you’re going to listen, but you, on the other hand, have nothing of value that I will listen to.

Luntz made this revealing statement: “People listen to anything that affirms themselves instead of informing themselves.” We’ve taken the Book of James statement to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19) and reversed it. Now we are deafly slow to listen, NASCAR quick to speak, and unstably quick to become angry!

Social media has unknowingly encouraged this. Someone can spout off venom and not hang around to hear the reactions. It is easy and, in some ways, relationally shallow to speak on Facebook, and exit out before hearing the thoughts of others.

This slowness in listening runs through a variety of systems in our world. Parents don’t want to hear the concerns of their child’s teachers concerning his behavior. Students don’t want to listen to their teachers, who they have often written off as irrelevant. And sometimes teachers don’t want to listen to students who disagree with an idea or are slow in understanding what is being taught.

In the youth sports world there is a decreasing number of officials. One main reason is the verbal abuse that is heaped upon them by parents, coaches, and players. And think about it! A sports official is simply someone who is making judgment calls…rulings…on situations that occur in the midst of a game. A number of officials have been physically attacked in the midst of athletic contests in recent years.

We don’t want to listen to anything that we have decided we disagree with! We have become very skilled in not listening!

Yesterday my 8th Grade boy’s basketball team got waxed. We went into the game 4-0 and left 4-1. But, and here’s what I told them after the game, hopefully we learned from the experience. We didn’t leave the game talking about how bad the officiating was or what poor sports the other team’s players were. On the contrary, the game was well officiated and the players on the other team acted just as well as my players did. We just got beat…and we listened with our minds to what was being taught to us.

In the coming days may each of us strive to be quick to listen and a lot slower in speaking. We need that. Our country needs that. I’m hoping that when Frank Luntz does another group interview before the 2020 election he will be able to hear what is being said, not just a room full of disgruntled folk who have a lot to say and nothing to hear!

If you want to respond…I promise I’ll listen!

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible, children, Christianity, coaching, Community, Freedom, Nation, Parenting, Pastor, Teamwork, The Church, Uncategorized, Youth

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