Re­main teach­able by lis­ten­ing to oth­ers

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

I’m not al­ways right, some might say, hardly at all and of course they’re en­ti­tled to their opin­ions. How­ever, when I’m talk­ing, I think it’s very rude when some­one cuts me off mid-sen­tence. Vent­ing is one thing, and that’s un­der­stand­able — as long as it’s in the right set­ting. This let­ter is not about vent­ing: it’s about dis­re­spect, self­ish­ness and the in­abil­ity to re­main teach­able.

When I use the word “you” in this ar­ti­cle, I am tar­get­ing those on the other end of some of my con­ver­sa­tions — not you, the reader.

First off, when you cut me off in mid-sen­tence, you’re telling me what I have to say is of no con­se­quence or doesn’t mat­ter. Who are you to im­ply that to me? You’re no bet­ter than me; your job sta­tus doesn’t mat­ter. Your opin­ion is only your opin­ion, and nor­mally not much more than that.

Self-cen­tered con­ver­sa­tion typ­i­cally means there is no com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It’s a very self­ish and ar­ro­gant per­son who re­lies on their opin­ion and only theirs. A one-sided con­ver­sa­tion nor­mally comes to a quick and abrupt end. The re­sults are more than likely not the de­sired one. Both par­ties will prob­a­bly leave the con­ver­sa­tion un­ful­filled.

I had a friend, Melvin Fos­ter, and one of his more mem­o­rable quotes was, “Al­ways re­main teach­able … ” He passed away sev­eral years ago after liv­ing a nice, long life. He was a very knowl­edge­able man in many ar­eas, but since he re­mained teach­able through­out his life, he con­tin­ued to grow in his ac­com­plish­ments till his death. That was made pos­si­ble due to his abil­ity to lis­ten. His grounded be­hav­ior was loved by many.

Most days I can han­dle th­ese self­ish in­ter­ac­tions and just walk away. Some­times it’s not so easy, though — es­pe­cially when I need a spe­cific an­swer and the per­son doesn’t lis­ten to the ques­tion. Maybe they’re hav­ing a bad day or maybe they think they can read minds.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the key for hu­man be­ings to progress nicely through­out the day, and we as hu­man do­ings are not do­ing it well.

I have no­ticed that those who ac­tu­ally want help oth­ers have the abil­ity to lis­ten, then for­mu­late a plan based on most of the facts and is­sues at hand.

I need to ad­mit that some­times I fail in this very same arena. When you lis­ten to and ex­change words with an­other per­son, you are show­ing them the re­spect they prob­a­bly de­serve — just like you do.

Jim McDon­ald, Port To­bacco

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