Friday, December 12, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear?

So my sisterbestfriend had these little thingies taken off her vocal chords the other day. Nothing to be that concerned about (?)...she has had a strained hoarsey voice for several months now - and went to a ENT who stuck something up her nose to see and 'Voila' ...nodules on her vocal chords.


About 40 years ago - our dad had this too. He had to have them removed and couldn't speak for a few days. We called him 'Frankenstein' because he had a scar that went practically from ear to ear and little sutures that resembled the bolts that were on the monster. Then, he had to go to a therapist to learn how to talk correctly - - from the diaghragm not the throat. Maybe that's just about the time Daddy developed and perfected 'The Poppy Face' - a scowly lowered brow menacing look that could capapble of extracting the truth out of even the most verdant liar. In those days...they cut you open for this type of procedure. Nowadays - they go in through the nose and snip*snip - it's over in less than an hour.


So my sister had this done on Wednesday. The rule was she couldn't talk for 48 hours and then has to be on vocal bedrest for about two weeks. And, if you know my sister - not talking is harder than , I don't know - not breathing!! The. Woman. Likes. To . Talk. Add to that she talks for a living, and not just for sport and she has a cell phone where her ears should be - and this will be the longest 48 hours in her life!


So we make a plan - since she can't talk...she can either just blow into the phone - or better yet, she can *beep* once for yes and *beep*beep* twice for no.


So I call her and ask her if how she is feeling (*beep*) if she got good drugs (*beep*beep*) and if this no talking thing is killing her (*beep*). I realize that in order for this 'beeping' plan to work, I have to ask questions answerable with a simple yes or no answer. Having failed miserable at that - since , to me, nothing worth asking is answerable with a simple yes or no - I decide to email her.


I write that for me it would be no problem and how I would love not to talk to anyone for two weeks....she responds that she would rather not listen to anyone for two weeks. Ha-Ha!!


So then it got me thinking (which is always a dangerous thing)- as to the difference between speaking and talking and the differences between listening and hearing...I like to think of myself as someone who speaks and listens rather than someone who simply talks and hears. No offense to my sisterbestfriend - but she talks more than she listens.

If there was one gift I could give my children - it would be the gift of listening. That means really taking an effort to hearing something, comprehending, processing, paying attention - whatever you want to call it. That means not formulating your next sentence in your head in mid-conversation...that means not asking a question unless you are willing to wait and hear the answer...that means being patient....that means caring...that means empathy....that means everything.


To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation Chinese Proverb



28 comments:

Miss Blondie said...

I have to agree with you, i would love to go a week without having to say a word to anyone. Imagine all the thinking you could get done?!?

Hope your sister feels better!!

Yaya said...

So true. Being an active listener is an amazing quality for someone to have.

Aunt Becky said...

I'm not sure I could handle not speaking for that time. I'm not a motor mouth like I used to be (turns out kids aren't that amazing to have conversations with), but still. I might combust. I send your sister healing vibes.

Fannie said...

I'm a talker/bad listener. I think they go, for better or worse, hand in hand.

Lula! said...

You are a genius. This entire post is full of genius.

I'm going to say no more...but listen more...going back to reread again...

Mariah said...

I'm hoping that I can instill the listening gift in my kids too!

for a different kind of girl said...

I'm guilty sometimes of hearing but not listening. I've done the whole formulating a question while the person is talking. I blame my past as a journalist. I was always processing and writing and picking key words. I've gotten better at that habit, but it's still something that slips in from time to time.

Additionally, I'd LOVE not having to speak for two weeks, especially if it meant not having to repeat everything every day!

The Blonde Duck said...

Very true! I couldn't not talk though. I talk to anything and everyone.

ipv6 said...

yeah one caould go a week without having to say a word to anyone..but it a bit different if you cant say not even a word.

Trooper Thorn said...

Thanks for your comments on my blog. I agree with you; you can't consider any projectile to be dangerous until it's on fire. All those batters who rush the mound when the pitcher brushes them back with a non-flaming fastball are just a bunch of babies.

Rhea said...

I bet it is torture for your sister not to talk. Glad she's ok though.

I'm the quietest one in my family, I swear. My mom and sisters are HUGE talkers. I'm more the listener.

I loved your insight. Very nice.

Romi said...

Isn't that the truth! I'm all ears when it comes to listening.

I hope your sister feels better and is back to yacking soon:)

Kat said...

I love what you have to say. And I concur. Listening seems to be a lost art. And even reading through an email. When I worked, I would send out an email - and would get back questions that are answered in the email - or only get part of the information that I need.

Scary Mommy said...

Awesome post!! I have friend who is the best listener and it is gift to talk with her. I, however, could afford to shut up more ;)

Hope your sister feels better!

Mama Dawg said...

Hear, hear! (no pun intended) I have an aunt who talks, talks, talks, talks, talks, talks, talks, talks, etc.... all the time. And rarely "hears" me.

NJDecorator said...

I don't talk out loud as much these days - as I am alone most of the day and don't want to look crazy. :)

Lauren said...

I'm sorry what was it you were saying to me? ;) Really enjoy your writing!!!

Susan said...

My husband just approached me minutes before reading your post about my talent for talking to myself while no one else is even in the room. Bad habit. Glad to hear your sister's doing ok!

Auds at Barking Mad said...

I wholeheartedly agree.

I think, to your gift to my kiddos I would add the diligence to know the difference between actually listening to someone vs. just hearing them. Such a small thing can make a HUGE difference.

jill jill bo bill said...

That is oh-so-true!!! I would be fine as long as I could email and text. Hope ahe has recovered nicely and is yakking away.

Mama Wheaton said...

I am not a good listener, I know that's an awful thing to admit but there seems like I'm always thinking of other things. My kids and husband know they have to get my full attention before talking and then I am a good listener.

goodfather said...

Hey, followed you over from the Bean - great post, I love your blog already. Your communication system with your sisterbestfriend reminds me of the Star Trek pilot with Captain Pike ("The Menagerie") - one flash for yes, two flashes for no...
uh, unless you're not a Star Trek fan... :D

nikkicrumpet said...

I hope your sister gets feeling better soon. Not talking for 48 hours....My freaking head would explode!

bejewell said...

Listening is one of the hardest skills to master. I'm working on it, but man, is it hard. It's hard to hear and comprehend what the other person is saying saying over the din of the voice inside my head saying "You must let this person know NOW just how brilliant and humorous you are! Go!"

Harmony said...

Absolutely right.

Weith Kick said...

I am not a good listener. My wife can attest to that. I hear, but I don't listen very well. It comes from lack of concentration. It's something I really should work on.

bejewell said...

P.S. What?

Aileigh said...

Wow, great post! It is sooo true! Not talking for two weeks, ugh, I don't think I could do it either! :)