This week the Year 6s from both Junior School Kew and Carey Donvale gathered together for the first of a few days spread over the year focussing on developing leadership skills. One of the key points this week was the importance of listening when establishing new relationships – such as meeting a peer from the other campus. Active listening was described as attentively seeking to understand a message, rather than passively hearing words, while providing verbal and non-verbal feedback to show genuine interest. Active listening can establish trust in a relationship, facilitating easy, open and honest conversation.
This type of listening is not only a valuable tool for children getting to know new classmates, but also for adults interacting with each other – especially our own children. I am often reminded of basic communication skills when dealing with my adult children. Stop what I am doing, put down my phone, turn my body to look at them, make eye contact, don’t butt in or put words in their mouths and refrain from expressing judgment until it is requested. Be fully present with them.
And interestingly enough – the same goes for our communication with God. We need to attentively seek to understand His message to us rather than passively hearing words. We need to be fully present with Him. To shut out other noises and distractions. To Pause. To be still and know that He is God.
Lord, I have many excuses ready for not finding the opportunity to be still, for not making the time to be quiet. I have high expectations of myself. I hear also the expectations of others. I even blame you sometimes, thinking you want me to do more, for more’s sake alone. It’s easier to be busy, or plan, or act, even easier to doodle or admire the view, than to stop and listen. I’m more accustomed to praying in thanks and in intercession, than in adoration or submission. I bring you my baggage of activity – these are the things that make my water muddy. May you move upon the waters and still them.
Janine de Paiva
Junior School Chaplain