Jan 28, 2010

The Best Way to Listen

In our philosophy class at Navarro Community College (Midlothian campus) several of the students were discussing how no one really listens anymore. The pupil’s observation reminded me of a Max Dupree story—always a good thing. Here it is:

The Marquis de Custine, a French traveler, was crossing with a group of Russian nobles from Sweden to St. Petersburg in the nineteenth century. The Russians were discussing the burdens of attending at the Czar’s court, among which was the obligation to listen politely to all sorts of trivial and boring conversation. They were trying to determine the best way of appearing to listen, since we all admire attentiveness. The Frenchmen made a simple observation. “The best way of appearing to listen,” he said, “is to listen” (Max Dupree, Leadership Jazz, Dell, New York, 1992, pp. 28-9).

As I think about the life of the church, one of the greatest gifts we give one another here at FUMC, Arlington, is the gift of an attentive ear.


Susan Schrock said...

Thanks for the gentle reminder. It is so easy to become distracted or to fake attentiveness while someone is talking to you, whether what they are saying is important or trivial. I know I am definitely guilty of this. Who knows what good stories I could be missing!

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