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Column: Learning from your Dad

Posted: June 14, 2018 12:50 p.m.
Updated: June 15, 2018 1:00 a.m.

As we approach Father’s Day, I was thinking about how well great Dads listen. In fact, how well one listens can be life changing. Many fathers appear to be the quieter person in a couple or the quieter person in a family. Perhaps he is really just listening. Sometimes the very stoic father or grandfather is really listening with all of his senses. He is listening with his ears, but also with his eyes.

Dads are patient listeners. They listen as we stumble to find our words.  While we search for the best way to convey our thoughts and feelings, they read between the lines. They hear our intent and they are patient.

Some dads are very factual listeners. They listen for facts and data to confirm facts. They are open minded as they hear what is being said and what is not being said. As my dad would say, listen in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. They hear the facts.

Many dads listen empathically. Not only do they listen with their ears, they listen with their hearts. They can be persuaded by the situation of another or by another’s opinion. They hear with their hearts.

Other dads are potential listeners. They are open to the unknown. They listen for what can be without strong views until they have heard everything. They hear what the future can be.

Wise fathers do not rush to judgment. They have instilled a solid sense of right and wrong in us. They hear our logic, thoughts, and fears. They hear our values.

Like most things in life, no matter the number of types of listening, drawing upon a combination of skills makes for a great Dad. Focus is one of the key skills he uses when listening. Yes, you have met him or lived with him or you work with him; he has an astute ability to listen and adapt listening to each situation. It is his ability to listen that ensures he is heard -- that is why he is a great Dad.

We  live in a world full of noise. And, it can be very difficult to listen while music is playing, games are running, someone is talking on the phone or when in a crowded place.  We must all focus and grow our listening skills.  As we celebrate Father’s Day this month, it is certainly a time to focus on what our fathers have taught us and what they can teach us. They teach us to listen factually, to be open to potential and to change all around us. They share with us how our empathy serves us well.

Now is the season to hone your listening abilities and ‘tis the season to listen to your father. When you really listen, you will learn so much about yourself and about the world around you. He is wise and he is listening. Tell him thank you for listening.

As I mention often, your Camden City Council and your city staff are willing to listen. I would enjoy hearing how we can serve you better -- you can find me at City Hall, you can stop me in the grocery store, we can speak at church. Please join us for a council meeting or contact us at any time.

Happy Father’s Day!

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