Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

Stephen R. Covey

Real listening involves giving others your full attention—being fully awake, aware, and attentive to what the other is communicating. Real listening means giving what others say careful consideration…even if their opinion  varies greatly from my own. Real listening means humbling myself and respecting the other. Real listening indicates wisdom.

Submit your personal story or favorite illustration, quote, Bible verse, etc. that illustrates a specific virtue to [email protected], then click on the virtue of your choice on the Virtues page to see your story or the stories and illustrations of others.

August 20, 2021

My wife Julee sent this to me this morning; it reminds me of how all of the virtues in one way or another find their root and source in the greatest virtue…Love.

June 26, 2021

“Never miss a good chance to shut up.”   (Will Rogers)

June 26, 2021

The following are all verses from the book of Proverbs:

Proverbs 18:13   “Answering before listening is both stupid and rude.”

Proverbs 19:27   “If you quit listening, dear child, and strike off on your own, you’ll soon be out of your depth.”

Proverbs 21:11   “Simpletons only learn the hard way, but the wise learn by listening.”

Proverbs 29:20   “Observe the people who always talk before they think— even simpletons are better off than they are.” 

Proverbs 31:25   “…When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly…”

June 26, 2021

Mark 4:9  “Are you listening to this? Really listening?”   —Jesus

Author’s note:  This question from Jesus is found many times throughout the gospels. I would like to think that if I had lived back then and Jesus was speaking to me, I would indeed have “really been listening!” Amazingly, from the context of the gospels, we find that Jesus’s listeners often-times were not really listening. Jesus though was patient, and seemed to have made his point by repeating himself with similar but different parables and illustrations until his listeners “really” heard him.

June 26, 2021

“A wise owl sat on an oak, the more he saw the less he spoke, the less he spoke the more he heard. Why aren’t we like the wise old bird?” –Charles M Schulz


June 26, 2021

Reflective Listening

One of the goals that is emphasized in our culture is finding answers—solving problems, answering questions, removing doubt. We want to know who, what, when, where, and why—and we want to know now. When we listen, we are trained to listen for the answers. . . .

Reflective listening distinguishes a response from an answer. It is a practice to get to know your inner voice, and it takes time and patience.

First, take a few breaths before responding to a situation, question, or comment. In those few seconds, ask yourself what wants to happen next. Then wait for your inner voice to respond. Remember that you are not listening for the answer; you are listening for a response, for your true wisdom to reveal itself.

Most important, as you practice reflection, notice that what you want to say (the ego) matters less than what wants to be said (the soul). Reflective listening is a slowing down, waiting, practicing patience with yourself.

The practice of listening for the questions—for what wants to be said next—deepens your relationship to your inner voice, your soul, and enhances full self-expression.

    –Kay Lindahl, Founder of The Listening Center

June 26, 2021

Listening as Spiritual Hospitality –(Henri Nouwen)

To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations.  True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known.   They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept.

Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond.  Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings.  The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves.  Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.

Listening is a way we can deal with difficult people in our lives. From time to time, we all have to deal with people who rub us the wrong way. It seems to be an inevitable part of human interaction to encounter people who feel draining to be around, impossible to get along with. And while it may be impossible to turn these relationships into friendships, we can certainly infuse them with a little ease. We can’t change the person in front of us, but we can work on how we perceive them, remembering that difficult people are often that way for a reason. “

“When we get to know someone’s story, if we listen closely, we might find that behind their abrasive exterior, there is a woundedness, a suffering we could never have imagined. With this understanding it becomes easier to offer kindness. As we open up, we can develop more patience and gentleness than we ever thought possible. All we have to do is listen. The practice of deep listening not only shows the other person that we hear and understand them, it also builds trust. It forms a bridge so that they may also see us and relate to us in a different light. And its amazing how relationships can transform when people feel heard. “

“So what would happen if we put our preconceived notions and judgments aside for a moment and took the time to listen; truly and deeply listen to the person in front of us, no matter how challenging their personality? What if we paused long enough to drop our expectations and tried to understand where they’re coming from instead of assuming that we already know?”

“The next time you find yourself anticipating a challenging exchange with a demanding boss, or an annoying neighbor, pause and take the time to listen with less judgment, with fewer labels. Watch as a patience and compassion arise within you. You may realize that these difficult people aren’t so difficult after all.” 

“As H. Jackson Brown Jr. once said, ‘remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.'”

            –Tamara Levitt

May 18, 2021:

(From the book, “Rowing to Latitude” by Jill Fredston):

“Once, when a Native storyteller was asked by the humorist Garrison Keillor what could be learned from his culture, his answer — which came, of course, only after a pause — was “quietness.” Quietness is less about not talking than about learning to listen and being attuned to nonverbal clues.  It is a state of watchfulness, a heightened awareness of the sough of wind on the river and the honking of geese overhead.”