LISTENING -- it oughta come natural, but it doesn't.

I enjoyed teaching a workshop on conflict management, recently. What follows is a brief portion of that presentation.
Family conflict is not something to be avoided or feared. Whether between husband and wife, parent and child, or siblings, conflicts are OPPORTUNITIES. They are opportunities to learn about each other, discover ourselves, and to strengthen the ties that bind us together as a family.

We all have a natural tendency to approach conflicts ineffectively. We strive to be heard. We want our counterpart to understand us. "Listening" is an exercise in patience while we wait our turn to talk. We are LISTENING to RESPOND.

The wise among us have learned to LISTEN to UNDERSTAND. They exercise emotional self-control. They practice active listening. They validate their partner. Through their actions they establish a culture of respect in their family.

Healthy LISTENING SKILLS are not complicated. They just do not come naturally. It is easy enough to learn them, and they can be practiced many times on a daily basis.

It is my job and my joy to help families to grow in understanding, love, and trust for each other. Appropriate conflict management is an excellent step in that direction. Learning to LISTEN EFFECTIVELY is how conflict management happens best.