Blog 2213 – 11.08.2021
A young Madonna’s plaintive lyrical cry, “Poppa, don’t preach” is a sad comment one one of our biggest failures as men. Seeing ourselves as “fixers” with all of the right answers, “great communicators” we often fail at the most important part of communication – listening. Psychiatrist’s are trained and paid well to listen. Their patented questions “What do you think?” and “How does that make you feel?” are used sparingly and only then in an attempt to keep the client talking. Wisely, they know that the answers we seek are in us and the most profound words, the words that explain everything, come from within.
I write this daily blog to share the encouraging words that I have heard throughout this journey. I wish I could have a lengthy conversation with each of you, one on one, where I could hear from your lips the great lessons that you have learned this go round.
Ladies especially are always trying to get us men to share our feelings because they know if we do, we will stop trying to mansplain everything and maybe get a real clue or two. I heard a young man who had just gotten out of prison for killing a young woman in a high speed car crash while drunk and passed out at the wheel, who was haunted day and night by a vision of that broken once beautiful face, say to a friend from his past who had just asked him, “How was your day?” that it had been such a long time since anyone cared enough to ask him that.
Listening is not just one of the greatest gifts we can give to others, but to ourselves as well. Want to be a truly great communicator a great “fixer”, guys? Stop trying to “mansplain” everything and just listen, listen, listen. Jesus used the expression more than once, “Verily, verily verily (or Truly, truly, truly) I tell you.” But by far his greatest skill as a communicator was his great skill as a listener.
One of my all time favorite books is The Listener by the wonderful woman novelist, Taylor Caldwell. Her full given name was Janet Miriam Holland Taylor Caldwell. She also published under the pen names Marcus Holland, Max Reiner,and her married name of J. Miriam Reback. She chose to write under those man sounding names because the men of her day did not listen to women or think they had anything important to say. Sadly many men still think that today because they are big talkers but poor listeners.
Mainsplain means pontificate or preach as if we and we alone had all the answers. I do not nor does any man have all the answers. I do not even know all the questions, but I know one of the best and most loving ones to ask is, “How was your day?” then allowing lots of uninterrupted time to hear how their day was, the good and the not so. It is surprising how a listening ear at the end of even the most taxing day can make it a good day after all.
Your friend and fellow traveler,
Still learning to listen,
Someday We’ll Know