Dealing with Deaf Ears
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Blinders and deaf ears! As I sit here frustrated with our 'economic debacle' and how neither Congress nor the White House address it or assume any responsibility, bolstering" their own long standing positions, are arguing with "accounting," and blaming others. These are not behaviors we should be modeling and teaching our kids.


 In my blog today:  I make suggestions and discuss games to play with kids to teach them how to 'listen' to lessons and other opinions, especially when they are difficult to 'hear' , to learn how to assume responsibility, and to respond with veritas. 


What do YOU do to teach them these valuable lessons?

  • Meryl,

    I have been feeling that way myself. The flip side to letter writing becoming a lost art is that we don't know how to read either. I've been dealing with a committee whose members — myself included I'm afraid — keep reading each others e-mails and taking offense where none is intended. (The short, clipped style that so many people use often strikes me as angry, whereas I gather that my preference for complete sentences, and even paragraphs, comes off as condescending or confusing.) Maybe you could add letter-writing to your list of exercises we can do with our children, even if they just write to us or to their siblings. Certainly it seems as if it could be a useful method for teachers (though they already have so much on their plates!) to have students write to each other and respond. And the children would be able to get immediate feedback from their peers about whether they understood each other.

    And while e-mail is bad enough, shall we rant about the evils of text message lingo? Grr. The brevity of these communications, as well as the way they prevent people from dealing with each other voice-to-voice or face-to-face, does, in my opinion, great damage to listening skills.

    Maybe in a few more years we can entice kids back to letter writing by telling them they're going to learn a cool new secret code, unknown to most of the population, especially their parents.

  • Dear Ruth,

    Thank you for your kind words and support.  You bring up such an important point when you note that there are different kinds of listening.  And, I hate saying it, but with email, letter writing is becoming a lost art.  I am a writing teacher, and so many of my 4th and 5th grade students don't know how to write a letter.  Sad.  Too many sad, depressing things, huh.

  • Meryl,

    This is an important topic. I read your blog entry, and I liked the video clips you chose; they were very apt. Your comments made me think about the differences between our children and our government. It seems to me that children, since their brains and neural pathways are still forming, have an excuse for not listening as well as we would like. Also, children — eventually — seem to learn from their mistakes (as a parent, I have either to believe that or put in a nice dungeon). Our current group of elected officials doesn't seem able to do that. 

    More seriously, your observations made me think about different kinds of listening, specifically the listening we do when someone is speaking to us, and the "listening" we do when we read. I haven't spent a lot of time in actual conversation with any of my representatives, but I have done a fair bit of letter writing, and wonder whether anyone reads what I have written, whether anyone really "listens" to what I have tried to say in my writing. I completely agree with you about the need to teach our children, and probably ourselves as well, how to listen, but I think that we also need to consider ways to make ourselves be heard, to be audible when we speak and when we write. I don't have any brilliant ideas for bringing such a result into being, however.