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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I am reminded time and time again about the importance of the act of LISTENING!

After I wrote the last article for the Gazette I pondered, “What should the focus be for my column in the New Year”? Ideas came and went! Then as December came to a close and the New Year rolled around, I continued my thought process. I wanted something NEW… something DIFFERENT… something to catch everyone’s attention. Several subject entered my mind but no decision was made! My considerations continued.

Life continued! Day after day, situations arose where the absolute necessity for “LISTENING 2 CHILDREN” arose. I was reminded time and time again about the importance of the act of LISTENING!

• Listening to the infant as her eyes focus on the first rain!
• Listening to the four-year old feeling snow for the first time!
• Listening to the child who just learned to ride her bike!
• Listening to the crying toddler who just had his ice cream fall!
• Listening to the young women who has just fallen in love!
• Listening to the teen that just lost his job!

Opportunities arise around us all the time where listening is needed! However, in this busy busy world, sometimes, the act of listening is not given the importance that it deserves.

Listening deepens the connection between two people greatly! Listening bonds people together in miraculous ways. When two people take the time to be in conversation, sharing and talking, a synergy develops that is so special. Conversations cannot be hurried. Well, they can be hurried, but if one wants the delight and pleasure and closeness that comes from listening, then conversations should be given the time they deserve!

When listening doesn’t take place, the person not listened to may end up holding on to un-processed thoughts and feelings. When such thoughts build up time after time, they can cause emotional upsets. I’ve seen this happen time and time again in classrooms. Teachers wonder WHY is this child acting out? Nine times out of ten when I see an incident that has happened where a child is upset, I’ve been able to trace the ‘cause’ back to something that happened that was not addressed. The importance of listening begins at birth and continues into adulthood and beyond!

Over the past months I’ve had the marvelous experience of having one of my children ‘fall in love’! She’s over 30 and has been SO patient in dating and finding Mr. Right. And now everything is falling into place! Although she’s known him for 3 years, they were not serious until recently. Then they became a couple! Almost immediately he was offered a fabulous work promotion but it entailed a move to another state! A BIG decision had to be made! It was amazing to listen to her talk about all the conversations they were having about the move. At one point, I had MORE questions than she had answers so I had to sit quietly and wait!

This reminded me that sometimes, the process of listening requires SILENCE! So, silence it was for about 10 days! But tonight, we spent over 90 minutes on the phone discussing their trip next week out of state to locate housing and their upcoming move. The timing wasn’t great for me, but if I had said no to the call tonight, what I would have lost out on would be irreplaceable! I would have missed listening to her talk about what furniture to take, how she found a matching piece to her wild purple flowered luggage and the huge significance of this time in her life! Yes, listening is crucial to close relationships when our children are 3 months or 30 years.

It’s never too late to begin listening again! And the very act of listening can change lives! It can bring people together! And it can create a connection so strong, so beautiful, so special!
AND it can all begin with just 10 minutes of listening! I call this the 10 Minute Miracle. JUST listen to a loved one for 10 minutes. Have no agenda other than listening! Listening is a miracle that can last a lifetime!

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