Nature has given [people] one tongue but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.
— Epictetus, the Greek Stoic philosopher
IN SUNDAY’S SESSION…
A listening tool symbolizes listening. The children explored and practiced their listening skills using games and chants. They reflected on the impact of listening carefully to others, especially in situations of conflict, and the potential difficulties of listening. We emphasized that listening skills take practice.
Learning about listening helped the children learn that:
- Unitarian Universalism is a faith that can help us develop and practice listening skills, which have value across religions and communities
- Listening is a way for Unitarian Universalists to affirm that we value acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations (third Principle)
- Unitarian Universalism uses listening to seek wisdom from the world’s religions which inspire us in our ethical and spiritual life (third Source).
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about…
When you are gathered as a family, share your individual experiences of times you listened well and times you didn’t listen as well. Give each person a chance to answer these questions:
- When have you found it hardest to listen well?
- When is it easiest?
- Can you think of any times when you might have gained something important, or changed for the better, if you had listened better?
- What might you do to listen more carefully?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try…
The San Francisco Exploratorium website describes the online exhibit, “Listen: Making Sense of Sound,” as:
… a collection of interactive, ears-on exhibits…. (which) help visitors focus on subtle and profound aspects of hearing, experiment with new ways of listening deeply and carefully, and think about how others hear the world and focus on subtle and profound aspects of hearing.
Of particular relevance to this session is an interview with an auto mechanic, Lisa Miller, who discusses diagnostic listening for cars, and uses a mechanic’s stethoscope. There are a variety of online activities, as well.
An interview provides a structure for speaking and listening. Help your child choose a family member to interview and a topic. An older relative might have stories to share about family history, or what it was like to experience events that are now history. A sibling might like to talk about an activity they enjoy or a personal accomplishment. Most individuals in a family probably have something they would like to be interviewed about! Assist your child to take notes and write a report on the interview, or to videotape and edit it for your family archives.
Then, interview your child, and listen to him/her!