Growing up, talking was how I processed thought, how I commiserated, how I entertained others and myself, how I researched, investigated and explored, and oddly how I even listened. I made sure of what I was hearing by reiterating it or asking the speaker to restate. I would talk to listen!

I had a beloved aunt in Jamaica who used to tell me that I have two ears, but only one mouth, so I must either do half the talking or twice the listening. But as sure as I had a mouth, I must indeed talk. Still as certainly as I had ears, I must listen, and then listen again.

She knew that listening provided another effective (and efficient) way of learning, investigating, researching, entertaining, commiserating, entertaining, and exploring.

As a child, talking is important, but learning to listen is critical, so as not to become adults who haven’t developed the discipline of listening. So we don’t become adults who don’t respect listening. So we don’t become adults who are unaware of the value of listening.

Read, study, engage and interact; but nothing replaces good old fashioned listening.

Listen to your employees, your children, your parents, your clergy, your spouse, and your bosses. With limited words of your own, listen to their complaints, their praises and accolades, their interactions with others and with each other. Listen to what they do as well as what they say and what they do not say.

Try it for a week. Intentionally do twice the listening and half the talking for one week.  Then come back to this post and let me know what you learn.

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