Listening, Caring, and the Story

Listening and caring are prime sources of good relationships. They are so intertwined that if you experience one, you also experience the other.

If you ask yourself how you know someone cares for you, one of your responses is likely to be that you know because the person listens to you.

Ask a husband about a good wife, and he is likely to say that he knows his wife cares for him because she listens to what he has to say. Ask a wife about a good husband, and she’ll respond that he listens to her.

Even if we are saying something that is not really worth listening to, we still want someone to listen to us.

Ask a person in a poor relationship why the person feels that way, and the person will say that the other person “doesn’t care about me.” Ask,

”How do you know?” and more often than not the response will be, “He doesn’t listen to me.”

in order to understand the other person, you not only need to ask the right questions, you need to listen to the response.

Such was the case with a farmer and his horse, dog, and wagon full of grain traveling along the highway that were struck head-on by a car. The incident caused the farmer severe injuries.

When the case came to court, the lawyer defending the man driving the car asked the farmer, “Isn’t it true that immediately after the accident a passer-by came over to you and asked how you felt?”

“Yes, I remember that,” replied the farmer.

“And didn’t you tell him that you never felt better in your life?” asked the lawyer.

The farmer said, “I guess I did.” The defense lawyer said, “No further questions.”

On cross-examination, the farmer’s attorney asked, “Will you please tell the jury the circumstances in which you made that response?”

The farmer said, “Immediately after the accident, my horse had two broken legs and was neighing and kicking. The passer-by who came along was a deputy sheriff. He put his revolver to my horse’s ear and shot him dead. Then he went over to my dog that had a broken back and was yelping. The man put his gun to my dog’s ear and shot him dead, too. Then he came over to me and asked, ‘How do you feel?’ I said I never felt better in my life.”

Until the lawyers and the jurors listened to the farmer’s personal plight, until they understood his perception of the entire situation, they wouldn’t be able make an appropriate judgment.

Too often, complete understanding is never achieved because we have not listened to the other person’s entire story.

Tip: Listen for good relationships and listen to the entire story before making a decision.