Monday, May 31, 2010


In Stephen Covey's book entitled Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, an effective person is someone who knows how to listen to what others are saying.  It is greatly emphasized on Habit No.5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.  I have never read a book that says a good leader need not be a good listener.  I was also never educated that communication only involves a speaker.  

Why am I greatly concerned about listening?

I remember one story about a young boy who seeks attention from his mother.  He would do crazy stuffs--from bullying his younger sister to frequenting the school counselor's office just to get his mother's attention.  One day, he intentionally got into trouble again by bullying one of his classmates.  His mother furiously went to the counselor's office to talk about his troubled child.  While sitting silently at the corner while his mother apologizes for his behavior, he muttered "Mom, I am sorry and I love you."  The mother said, "Shut up, I am trying to convince your counselor that you are a good boy! Do not say anything unless I tell you to say something."

The mother and child went home, the boy didn't speak of anything after the scolding.  He didn't say a word to his mother when he got up, after he ate his cereals and when we went to school.  The mother was pleased that at last his child is behaving according to her will.  The afternoon passed without a phone call from school.  The mother waited for the boy to come home, she waited and waited for hours but still his little boy didn't come.  She got worried and called the school to ask but no one had seen his son.  "Could it be he didn't go to school today?", an angry thought occurred to her.  "Where could he possibly be?', she asks herself.  She called the local police station about her missing son and she was instructed just to wait and they will look for the boy.  It is already ten in the evening but still his son isn't home.  She went to his son's room to look for clues of his whereabouts and on his desk he found a note that says:

"Mom, I am sorry and I love you.  I am sorry that I didn't tell you my plans because you told me not to say a word unless you tell me to say so.  For a long time I have been trying to get your attention because I thought you would listen to me but yesterday confirmed that you will not.  Please do not be angry with me.  I am thinking of being with Gramps now because he always listens to me even if I say the silliest things.  Do not be sad, I will tell Gramps to listen to you if he asks you what took me to him."

The note felt like a spear piercing his heart.  For the first time in a long time, she couldn't say a word.  She heard a hard knock on her front door, she hurriedly went down to see and hoping that when she opens the door it would be his son.  Instead of his son, a police officer stood in front of the door and said, "Ma'am, I think we've seen him.  We found him unconsciously lying on the river bank, we tried to save him but we're too late."

Why am I concerned about listening?

I just feel like saying a lot of things but I was told not to speak because it was assumed that what I will say isn't something worth listening to (in view of my intended listener who happens to be a self proclaimed great leader).  I will not claim my own life because of this leader, just to be clear.

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