Posts Tagged ‘gift’


Give the Gift of Listening

December 24, 2007

Consider for a moment a variation on an early scene from my favorite movie of all time, the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz:

Aunt Em: Why don’t you find a place where [you will be listened to]!
Dorothy: A place where [I will be listened to]. Do you suppose there is such a place Toto? There must be. It’s not a place you can get to by a boat or a train. It’s far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain.

What can I give my family and friends for Christmas? This lament is likely to be heard around the globe as people struggle with gift choices for their hard-to-buy-for loved ones. Here’s an idea for you: become someone who is known for listening to your loved ones. And then, really, truly, deeply listen to them. Make this commitment to them in writing. The feeling of being listened to is one that will last long beyond the mayhem of Christmas morning.

Especially for close friends and family members, consider spending some private time with them and interviewing them about their lives. StoryCorps, “an independent, nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening,” suggests questions you can ask to help you get started. (You can use their Question Generator to create a customized list of questions, or simply use their Question List.) Or, you may want to ask several of the questions around the dinner table rather than focusing all the questions toward one person. You’ll be surprised at some of the things you never knew. The more you know, the richer your relationships will be.

And if you want to go one step further, try one of these ideas, too:

At least for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, remember to “whole-face listen” to those you are spending time with. They’ll appreciate it. And you’ll become closer to them in the process.