I know I'm not alone these days in my impatience and frustration with the members of Congress. Can't they just please listen to one another, discuss civilly rather than shouting accusations at each other, and just try to do what's best for the country rather than what's best for their next election bid? The U.S. Congress is just one of the more visible examples of the type of behavior that passes for civil discourse these days. I find it rather exhausting as well as frustrating. As always, though, it makes me look at my own behavior even as I point fingers at the members of Congress!
I'm reading Adam Hamilton's Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White: Thoughts on Religion, Morality, and Politics these days. And in it, Hamilton says that as a pastor and pastoral counselor, "listening and showing concern are the most important gift I offer." He adds, "I've also found that listening is not only important for the other person, it's important for me." Indeed.
All of that is true no matter what your profession and no matter what the relationship or context for the conversations. Listening is important for you and me as we let others speak, not just for the person doing the talking. You and I can learn so much more by listening, can't we?
So I'm trying to pay attention to how well I listen, to how well I set aside my own judgments so I can truly hear what the other is saying even when I might not agree, and to how open I am to learning from others. Perhaps if members of the U.S. Congress can't be an example to me, they can be a warning!