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Donaldsons' monthly message: November 2020

Donaldsons' monthly message: November 2020

Donaldsons' monthly message: November 2020

2 November 2020

Listening to the people we serve, no matter how young or old, is a big part of being leaders of this great Australia Territory.

By Robert Donaldson

Recent circumstances have confirmed that the crucial practice of listening is diminishing. Political ‘debates’ have quickly descended into slanging matches. Social media posts are attacked before respondents check what the person was really trying to say, or how they came to their conclusion. Decisions, and decision-makers, are slammed before people take time to listen to influencing factors and background information.

Many will be familiar with these rather succinct sayings about listening:

Think before you speak.

You have two ears and one mouth; use them proportionately.

Listen or your tongue will keep you deaf.

LISTEN and SILENT are spelt with the same letters.

Most people can hear; few people can listen.

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.

And from the Word of God:

Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish (Proverbs 18:13).

Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions (Proverbs 18:2).

Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge (Proverbs 18:15).

You should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry (James 1:19).

ListeningWe are always inspired by the stories we hear as we move around the territory.

It is interesting that listening forms part of four out of the five Salvation Army Australia values. In order to live with respect, we actively listen to understand, asking questions when we are not clear. In order to collaborate, we proactively create and foster partnerships, and, we build, support and celebrate teamwork. Partnerships and teamwork both require active listening. Listening is required to embrace and promote diversity; achieved through reflection on our own prejudices, biases and assumptions, and, ensuring that diverse voices are represented, valued and respected. Listening is also an obvious and crucial element of showing compassion.

So, how would The Salvation Army’s quality of life and service to others be improved if we all took the time to listen a little more?

People with good listening skills are more productive, make better partners and colleagues, are better problem-solvers, and have healthier interpersonal relationships. There are some other, less obvious, benefits too. For example, purposeful listening actually helps with stress management, boosts confidence, builds rapport, and helps engender trust.

Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals. – L.J Isham

God bless you.



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