The Art Of Listening
The summer vacations were coming to an end. The schools were to re-open the following week. Iti’s classes knew no vacations. The children kept coming all year through. The ones who had gone on holidays, were all trickling back one by one. The room was filled with chattering of the kids. Various sizes of footwear lay neatly near the door. Colourful water bottles on the tables, added so much more than colour to the room. Iti loved the sight. Children of different ages, sat on their stools, seemingly happy to be there. The sleepy afternoon was all alive.
Ankush, with his little sister Aaria, walked into the class after a three week long holiday. “It’s good to see you both Aaria and Ankush,”said Iti, giving them a warm hug. “So how were your holidays?Must have had a great time?”asked Iti. These two children, with their parents, had gone on a Europe tour. “Very boring, Miss!” came Ankush’s reply. Iti was taken aback. “Boring?You would have visited so many places for the first time and wasn’t it thrilling to see places you had read about ?”she asked. Ankush retorted, “What thrill, miss?It is so very boring to spend time with Parents. Yes we did visit new places but wasn’t fun at all. Like always, they kept trying to teach us, what to do, how to do, who is better than us and so on and on. Seems like they take us on holidays so that they can keep preaching and we are stuck with no option but to keep listening to them!” Iti had in all these years mingled her heartbeat with these little ones . Their minds were like well-thumbed books that she read and re-read almost every day. She could understand Ankush’s disappointment very well.
Iti was reminded of a similar incident that had taken place barely a couple of days ago. Madhavi and Maina, the twins, were narrating their boring weekend when their parents had taken them to a hill station, not very far off the city. They had traveled by road and Iti remembered asking them about it, about how much fun the long drive during the monsoon would have been. “Fun?”Madhavi had exclaimed, rolling her eyes, “We were bored to death!” Maina too beeped in saying, “How can you spend six hours in a car with your parents, with whom you have hardly anything interesting to talk?” Iti had tried easing the situation by asking, “Surely you could have listened to some good music, couldn’t you? Both of you love to do so,right?” “Yes listening to classical music was enjoyable indeed!”quipped one with a tinge of sarcasm. “And there was no way we could have listened to anything else because the music we like is ridiculous to them, and what they like is utterly boring for us!” said the other.
The rest of the children were all in sync with the thoughts shared by the twins. They all unanimously agreed that there was nothing ‘fun’ to do with parents.
Iti was thinking of the highly educated parents of these children. They were all achievers in their own fields. What then was the reason for so much of disconnect between them and their own children? It is not uncommon to see parents facing difficulties in reaching out to their young ones. Iti felt that the parents, with good intentions, were all too eager to make the children listen to what they have to say; and preach what is right, good, beneficial etc etc. They fail to ponder over the fact that a simple role reversal of being a listener instead of a preacher, may do wonders. They could just patiently be all ears to their children and might find it easier to show them sense. This art of listening may aid in better communication. Unfortunately, this lack of listening makes people struggle throughout their lives, in connecting with their loved ones.
Parents can be a strong source of support, guidance and companionship for their children, if only they master this beautiful art of listening. Instead of finding ways to force their pearls of wisdom, upon their children, who are anyways quick to disregard them, it would be more prudent to explore the sea bed of life together, guiding them to the same pearls that then become priceless to the children for they are then their own discoveries.