I was making a fresh pot of tea and prepared to re-enter the room when I heard an unusual voice. It was full of delicious delight, very different to the one I was accustomed to. This voice was much more animated. There was an energy to it and a clever use of pitch that was taking its listener on an incredible journey.
I paused at the door, noticing her legs happily swinging beneath the chair, a smile stretched across her face as her arms gestured about, moving quickly to add even more expression to her words.
Her eyes were bright, glistening with the excitement as she recalled a moment, her moment.
I stood in awe of my daughter as she continued to tell her own story.
I tried to remain still, I did not want to disturb her, to distract her. I did not want her to ever stop.
My friend sat perched on the edge of her chair, her head tilted, while she listened.
She was listening with full eye contact and attention, not doing anything else.
She was listening to understand this nine-year old’s perspective, not to offer advice.
She was listening to absorb the words and meaning behind this story, not to retell her own.
She was listening without interrupting or drifting off to her own thoughts and stories.
She was listening to understand, not to respond.
She was listening with equal delight and my daughter was blossoming before our eyes.
All of a sudden the story stopped, Miss 9 caught my eye, she had the look of, Is this okay? I looked back with damp eyes and a huge smile. I nodded a very definite YES, this is gloriously okay.
I quietly dropped to the floor and sat in awe of this wonderful storyteller.
She added her own unique humour while taking us on a journey. She shared her insights and marvels and spoke with maturity beyond her years.
I was spellbound.
All too soon the story ended and she skipped off to play with her brother. I sat down a changed mother, vowing to listen, really listen more to my children and to everyone.
I sat down, thanking my exquisite friend for her two most incredible gifts that day. The gift of listening and understanding she gave to Miss 9 and the gift of awareness she gave to me.
A gift I now choose to share with you.
What is one thing you can do to become a better listener? Leave me a note in the comments.