Someone Needed You To Listen

First, sorry for not writing sooner.  I am balancing my communication tools between this blog and podcast.  I do encourage you to please listen to my podcast.  The goal for the podcast is to give some positive information in a negative world.  I do believe there is evil in this world and I have accepted my small / limited role to shine light on that evil.  I look forward to combating the evil.

Today, somewhere in this nation a family is mourning the loss of their child to suicide. A school is mourning the loss of a student.  Friends are mourning the loss of their peer.  Those who don’t even know that boy who committed suicide are now thinking of committing suicide; similar to a contagion.  I know for a fact student recently committed suicide.  Teen suicide is on alarming increase.  To show you the increase is real, I have shared a link.

My goal for today’s “article” is for you to carefully / respectfully listen to those around you who are talking about committing suicide.  Talking about how bad life is.  Again, when someone is talking about suicide, he / she is asking for you to help them.  Confront them.  Do what you can to show him / her their LIFETIME DECISION (committing suicide) FOR A TEMPORARY PROBLEM is not the way he / she wants to be remembered.  Introduce them to Stephen Covey’s habit:  BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND.  They want people to remember them with “that” ending?!  Also, know that you and I are not trained to “help” them.  Get them help!  Go with them to get the help.  But, if anything … be there for them.

I am learning how to be a speaker / coach for the JOHN C MAXWELL TEAM.  I love all of Dr. Maxwell’s books.  The one book that I am currently using for the podcast is:   THE 21 INDISPENSABLE QUALITIES OF A LEADER.  For this topic (suicide prevention), let’s use Chapter Eleven:  LISTEN to help us deal with a person who is have suicidal / self-harm thoughts.  BUT, IN THE END … UNLESS YOU ARE CERTIFIED COUNSELOR, you can only take them so far.  The first step is LISTEN…and then, take them to get help!

Just from the start:  TO CONNECT WITH THEIR HEARTS, USE YOUR EARS.  I do believe when someone is thinking of suicide and / or harming themselves, be it cutting / drinking alcohol / abusing drugs / etc. their heart is being ATTACKED!  Do what you can to listen to them.  Get him / her to defend their heart from the evil that is attacking them.  Two more quotes in regards to LISTENING … Woodrow Wilson:  The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.  &   John C Maxwell:  A good leader encourages followers to tell him what he needs to know, not what he wants to hear.

Dr. Maxwell is adamant about THE HEART.  To connect with someone, you need to offer a hand before you touch a heart.  We need to know what is in the person’s heart and one way to knowing their heart is by LISTENING to him / her.  According to Peter Drucker, most of the management problems come from poor listening skills.  In today’s “microwave” / “instant gratification” world, we really don’t take THE TIME to listen.  How do you spell love?  T-I-M-E!  Another way to spell love?  L-I-S-T-E-N!

Dr. Maxwell gives us ways to improve our listening:

  1. Change your schedule. Do you spend time listening to your followers / friends / family / mentors?  You need to give people attention.  So, make time on your calendar. Literally!  Maybe those folks need more attention.  Pencil in time to be with people who are important to you.
  2. Meet people one their turf. A key to being a good listener is to find common ground with people.  The next time you meet with a friend, discipline your self to ask four or five questions about him as a person.  Get to know who he is and seek common ground to build your connection with him.
  3. Listen between the lines. As you interact with people, you certainly want to pay attention to the factual content of the conversation.  But don’t ignore the emotional content.  Sometimes you can learn more about what’s really go on by reading between the lines.  Spend time in the coming days and weeks listening with your heart.

And then the “DAILY TAKE AWAY.”

President Theodore Roosevelt was a man of action, but he was also a good listener, and he appreciated that quality in other people.  Once at a gala ball, he grew tired of meeting people who returned his remarks with stiff, mindless pleasantries.  So, he began to greet people with a smile, saying, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.”  Most people, so nervous about meeting him, didn’t even hear what he said.  But one diplomat did.  Upon hearing the president’s remark, he leaned over and whispered to him, “I’m sure she had it coming to her!”  The only way to find out what you’re missing is to start listening.

I am JUST a high school band director.  Yet, I believe part of the increase in TEEN SUICIDE is … they feel no one cares about him / her.  And… as teens do from time-to-time… they EXAGGERATE the truth.  And… their feeling no one cares about them is still the truth (perception being reality).  Get to the heart of the truth and REMIND them:  LIKE A PLANT, HUMANS NEED FERTILIZER TO GROW!!  All of us have problems.  We have done a poor job listening to our teens / young people, especially listening to their heart.  When I use the word “WE,” I include me.  As I get older, my hearing is getting poor — literally and figuratively.  I have this sense of “COME ON, MAN!!”  Oppose to, “What did you just say, man?”  We are quick to answer that cell phone call, but slow to listen to what the person is saying on the cell phone.

When someone says, “I am so sick of life” – I hope you are listening, oppose to being that “stiff / mindless” person President Roosevelt described.  You may be the remedy for that person’s sickness of life.  All they needed was for you to listen or better yet, all they need for you to do is to listen.  Really listen.

1 thought on “Someone Needed You To Listen”

  1. This is an excellent reminder. I recently realized that young people also seem to open up through sharing the music they are listening to. The music that is speaking to their heart is often heartbreaking, but can be a great conversation starter.

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