“Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.” — Psalm 139:4
My two oldest children are often found in a debate of some kind or another. You know, who was last getting out of the van and left the side door wide open, draining the battery? Or who cheated when playing monopoly? Or who spit a large piece of unused toothpaste into the sink and left it there for our maid? (We don’t really have a maid, but I am seriously starting to wonder if the rest of my family thinks that we do!) Nevertheless, there is usually an argument or two a day that ensues at some point between the two of them.
By the time these arguments reach my ears they are usually being explained at decibels only dogs (and Mom’s) can hear. I usually try to talk them down off the ledge by giving them the opportunity to share their side of the story —with one stipulation: they must also hear their siblings side of the story without commenting even one word during their turn. If they fail to obey this rule, a consequence follows.
One of said kids (no names, of course) has a fairly difficult time with this rule. He usually comments over or cuts into the story when being told through his sisters eyes. Recently, when going through this very routine regarding a monopoly mishap, my boy decided to practice ‘keeping it shut’ while his sister shared her story. He didn’t at any point cut her off, or talk over her, or share his perspective during her story. He simply listened. I praised him for this noted change afterward and he shared that it was actually a lot more fun to listen instead of his usual behaviour.
When we talk much, we miss much.
That seems like a ridiculously simple statement but it is oftentimes forgotten. When we are always doing the talking we miss incredible opportunities to hear what is on a friend’s heart. We miss opportunities to give space to a friend as they muster the courage to ask for or extend forgiveness. We miss out on opportunities to hear parts of a situation that have been missed; a part that perhaps makes all the difference in how you view that situation entirely. The bottom line; when we talk much, we miss much.
The people you want to listen to most are usually the people who have the least to say.
Proverbs 10:19 —The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words.