We are months into The Live Like it Matters Challenge now and I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am. Remember the point is to make us more aware of our daily interactions with others. Are we kind? Do we smile at others or scowl instead? Do we say thank you? Are we helpful?

Another way to live like it matters is to listen. It seems so simple but with all kinds of distractions at our fingertips we don’t do it well.

I’ve been guilty of multi-tasking while trying to listen and it doesn’t work.

You’re not listening if you’re checking Instagram or Twitter while your 14 year old is asking you about your first car. If you’re watching Netflix while your friend is trying to tell you about her day at work, you aren’t listening. Quit watching Periscope while your sister is asking about your plans for Thanksgiving.

Nothing says “you matter” like giving someone your undivided attention. I mean, “phone out of sight, TV off, looking them straight in the eye like there’s no one else around” kind of attention. That’s how you listen. You look them in the eye and really hear what they’re saying.

Don’t do the fake nods and the occasional glances in their direction and the “yeahs” acknowledging what was said when you really have no idea what was said.  Quit pretending to listen.

Just listen.

Instead of checking my phone when I get home tonight I’m going to listen. I’ll listen as my husband and kids talk about their day, their friends, or a new song by their favorite artist. I’ll get to hear how my children interact with one another……sometimes lovingly. Sometimes not so much. I’ll learn what made them laugh today. Or what made them angry today. I’ll find out if my husband had a rough day at work or not.

Later I will go to my bedroom to wind down and one of them will come in and lie across the bed.

I’ll ask, “What’s up?”

“Nothing,” is the usual reply.

Almost always he or she will start to share something. It may be trivial. But sometimes it’s not and it’s always important.

I’ll listen because I care deeply and I want them to know it.

“A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while she knows something.” 

                                    Wilson Mizner