“Silence gives consent, or a horrible feeling that nobody’s listening” – Franklin P. Jones
So, here’s the story.
Icarus, you remember him, the guy that flew too close to the sun and had his wings melted from him which caused him to fall to earth and die. Well, his father Daedalus had warned him about just that. But did he listen? No, he did not and that’s what happened.
Who do we listen to?
As children our parents are in full command and control. They put ideas and values into our heads that can take a lifetime to change if we choose to.
Their word is law and they know all the right answers. But, do they?
We have to test that out with time.
We listen to teachers and as adolescents we listen to our peers and have role models that we think have answers to what we want to know. We follow all sorts of paths. It’s a time for testing and that’s appropriate. Sometimes kids test too far and damage themselves and maybe wound themselves for life. It can be dangerous. Sex, drugs and rock and roll…. remember?
As adults we follow those people who tell us basically what we believe and want to hear.
How often do we change our opinions and hear something alien that we like? It is not the norm.
There are all sorts of experts today and all sorts of media outlets to find whatever we wish to know.
Most of the time we just look for justification of what we already believe.
Who do our leaders listen to? What information do they have and more importantly, what should they need?
As partners and in marriage it is fascinating to observe couples and what they say and do.
Many older men can be seen poll parroting what their wives have drummed into them for years. Most were busy slaying dragons and providing for their families and the other fronts were the domain of the women.
Everything from relationships with the children, friends and colleagues, were talked about with the women giving their take and opinions. The husbands bought it all lock stock and barrel. Many of these attitudes and ideas were ridiculous and downright wrong or even destructive. But as one older man said to me when I challenged some of his attitudes and ideas, I never thought about it.
Then there are the more modern women who buy whatever their mate says. This can be about world affairs, and all of life in general. They have little influence or input of their own. They abdicate their brain’s information or curiosity.
The best is an open mind, a search for the answers, and a give and take that allows equal time and space for each to make any decision or give an opinion.
One of the exercises I do with couples is ask each one to make a statement about something important that matters to them. Then I ask the partner to repeat what was said. Did they listen?
Then the hard part. Tell your partner what you think they meant by saying that.
It’s the story behind the words that counts.
You would be amazed at the results I hear.
Listening and understanding what another says, and the context that it is said in can be misleading if you are not connected and communicating well.
Many couples really do not care or want to pay attention and truly hear what their partner has to say.
How people relate to one another is what it is all about.
There is, of course, the, I told you so, that most people want to avoid.
If you had just ‘listened’ to me, you wouldn’t be in this dilemma. Eating crow is never fun.
Then there are the know it alls who may in fact know a great deal and led a successful life.
They can be obnoxious, and they can make people feel inferior and afraid to make decisions.
Being ‘wrong’ sometimes is part of the learning we all need. Making mistakes teaches us some of what we need to get through this life.
It’s a matter of degree.
If we are not allowed the opportunity to learn from such mistakes we can remain dependent for life and need someone else to guide us.
It is true that if Icarus had listened to his father he would not have died…
“You’ll never really know what I mean, and I’ll never know exactly what you mean.” – Mike Nichols