“Let the children come to me and don’t stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Wednesday, 30 September 2020
Consider a conversation: have you noticed the tendency to get into the habit of listening to someone talk so that you can respond to them? We often do that. We do not, in reality, listen to them but listen so that we can formulate a response. We sometimes interject, respond, speak. We are, subtly and unconsciously, the focal point in the conversation.
Active listening means paying attention to the conversation, the person, by not interrupting. It means taking the time to understand what the person is saying and not feeling we have to respond. It is other-centred.
Too often we let what we think we ‘know’ prevent us from seeing things as they really are. It seems as if Jesus knew this tendency all too well. He puts a child before his disciples and says that the kingdom of God belongs to children. Children have the remarkable ability to approach the world with wonder and awe. They can see everything for the first time, not prejudiced or partisan but with attention and expectation.
We are invited to cultivate a childlike mind by which we see everything for the first time. When we are childlike (not childish), we approach others and the world with wonder and expectation.
To be able to do this, we have to free ourselves from being trapped by experiences of the past. We have to try and arrive at every moment as if we had never been there before. When we cultivate living like this, we reserve judgement. We recognise that each moment is unique and rich with potential. Every encounter or experience becomes one of limitless possibility to learn something new.
Can you approach today, the experiences and encounters, with openness knowing something new is possible? Try listening to someone without thinking about how to respond, just let them speak.