How well do you listen to the person who is talking to you?
Do you really hear them or does your mind wander during the conversation?
This is very common, especially when listening to people that we are close to. You may think that this is untrue, but in reality we listen and relate what is being said in comparison to our own experience and in doing so, we aren’t completely present. We become busy with our own experiences.
It is a wonderful feeling to have someone listen to you completely, not only hear your words, but hear the message that you are relaying, and understand you, through your perspective.
Giving this gift to others gives us this same wonderful feeling.
Listen. Really listen.
When you sit down with your significant other, your friend, your family member, take five minutes to really listen. You will be surprised at what you have missed until now, what messages are being relayed, what feelings really exist beneath the surface.
Give someone the gift of listening today!
Today I would like to tell you a story about a little boy called Teddy and a teacher called Jean Tomson, who made an important impact on him.
Jean Thompson stood in front of her 5fth grade class on the very first day of school in the fall and told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same. And that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat was a little boy named Teddy Stallard.
Miss Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn’t play well with other children, that his clothes were messy, and that he constantly needed a bath. And, Teddy was unpleasant.
It got to the point where Miss Thompson would actually take delight in marking
his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then marking the “F” at the top of the paper, biggest of all.
Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, no one else seemed to enjoy him, either. At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s records and put Teddy’s off until last. When she opened his file, she was in for a surprise.
His first grade teacher wrote:
“Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners. He is such a joy to be around.”
His second grade teacher wrote:
“Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness, and life at home must be a struggle.”
His third grade teacher wrote:
“Teddy continues to work hard, but his mother’s death has been hard on him.
He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”
Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote:
“Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class. He is tardy and could become a problem.”
By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem but Christmas was coming fast. It was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus on Teddy Stoddard.
Her children brought her presents, all in beautiful ribbon and bright paper, except for Teddy’s, which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper of a scissored grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of cologne. She stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume behind the other wrist. Teddy Stallard stayed after school that day just long enough to say,
“Mrs Thompson, today you smell just like my Mom used to.”
After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and speaking. Instead, she began to teach children.
Jean Thompson paid particular attention to one they all called “Teddy.” As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. On days there would be an important test, Mrs. Thompson would remember that cologne. By the end of the year he had become one of the smartest children in the class and… well, he had also become the pet of the teacher who had once vowed to love all of her children exactly the same.
A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that of all the teachers he’d had in elementary school, she was his favourite.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still his favourite teacher of all time.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson she was still his favourite teacher.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still his favourite teacher but that now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed:
Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.
The story doesn’t end there. You see, there was yet another letter that Spring. Teddy said he’d met this girl and was to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering… well, if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the pew usually reserved for the mother of the groom. And guess what, she wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And I bet on that special day, Jean Thompson smelled just like… well, just like the way Teddy remembered his mother smelling on their last Christmas together.
They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrss Thompson’s ear:
“Thank you, Mrs Thompson, for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”
Mrs Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference.
I didn’t know how to teach until I met you!”
And the story ends here. You never can tell what type of impact you may make on another’s life by your actions or lack of action. Consider this fact in your venture through life.
[and just try to make a difference in someone else’s life today]
Change is possible for anyone, anywhere at any time. We often wait until it is just the right time.
We were taught that there is a right time for everything. – NOT SO- we don’t have to wait to make a change in our lives – we can start today. With one small step, we can create change in any moment that we choose.
We say “someday I will have the time and then I will….” We wait. It can be frustrating and yet it is easier to complain than to really make the effort it takes to see the possibilities. think of one small thing that you would like to do that would take 5 minutes that you can’t seem to find the time to do.
Write it down. Remember, when you write something down, you can’t argue with yourself!
I have a simple task for you:
Make a list of all of the things that you do during the day.
Simple enough. For example, wake up and shower, get dressed, wake the children, make breakfast, help the family to get ready for their day, drive to work…etc. It seems a bit overwhelming at first, but should take about fiveminutes to complete the task.
Next, write down the number of minutes that each task takes. Calculate how many minutes it takes for all of your day. Divide by 60 and see how many hours you are busy with your daily schedule.
How much time is left?
Have you found 5 minutes extra? It’s always surprising when we see how we can reorganize our time.
Schedule these five minutes! Do this everyday for 5 days.
Someday is today.
Go from being reactive to proactive, go from waiting for the best time, to beginning today using a unique method to turn on your “ON” button.
We wait. We wait for a better job, we wait for a vacation, we wait until our children are a “little bit older”, we wait to have time. And we keep doing the same thing over and over again.
There doesn’t seem to be enough time to do anything that we want to do.We live in an challenging world, with endless lists of things to get done.
Young working parents know this all too well – get the kids up in the morning and get them ready for their day, running off to work, working and working and then pick up the kids, bring them home, take them to their activities, set up play dates, make dinner, get everyone ready for bed and organize the next day. Stay at home parents have the same issues.
Young professionals know this all to well as they climb the ladder of “success”, with endless hours at work, leaving no time to do the things that they enjoy.
It’s like a carousel that you can’t seem to get off of. It’s a really beautiful carousel, yet, maybe it could slow down a bit every now and then? Because getting off the carousel isn’t an option, how can we improve these situations, so that we can find balance and enjoy?
Step I: Stop waiting.
Make a list of things that you enjoy doing. It may be cooking, skydiving, spending time with your family and friends, going out, anything that you love to do. Write it down. You may think that writing it down isn’t important, but it is! You can’t debate a thought once you write it down.
Step II: Choose
Choose one thing on your list. Just one. Think about the happiness that it can bring you, the enjoyment of the experience. It may be that you just want to have a quiet cup of coffee with yourself….it may be having coffee with a loved one….it may be skydiving. Everyone is unique, so each choice will be unique.
Step III: Make a plan
Making a plan sounds complicated, but remember that you chose one thing off of your list to fit into your busy schedule. So plan for this one event. If it’s a quiet cup of coffee with yourself, think “When can I do this?”. Who can help you achieve this?
If it is spending more time with your family, or with your friends, ask yourself “When can I do this?”
Who can help you achieve this?
Step IV: Write it down in your schedule
Yes, write it down. If you write it down, you can’t argue about what you wrote down!
Step V: Do it
Yes, you can stop waiting for the right time. You can plan it and do it! It’s just one thing on the checklist.
It is possible
Last step: Enjoy!
Be in the moment of what you are doing. Having a quiet cup of coffee? Enjoy each sip, enjoy the moment. Spending time with your family and friends? Be in the moment. Be aware.
Have a wonderful day!