One of Richard Bach’s short stories is titled: “The Pleasure of Their Company.” Most of what he has written is about flying in some way. In this story he talks about being able to know some of the pioneers of aviation by reading either what they had written about their experiences, or what others had written about them.
Growing up, I learned much about my family by listening to my grandparents, aunts and uncles talk about our family. I learned the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Charles Colson, in his book “Loving God,” writes that in order to love God as we are told by Christ to do, we must first know God. He goes on to add that the best way to know God is through the Bible, words that God has inspired to be written.
When I was in Viet Nam, I was part of a forward air control team. My part of the team was to maintain the radios, and also be part of the rotation of operators. This involved manning three banks of radios at the same time. The call sign for our team was “Tamale.” What I had to learn to do was to listen for that word, and then focus on that radio.
What does all of this have to do with family dynamics? They all require listening.
It has been my experience and observation that when we become divided, we stop listening. We move from listening to talking “TO” each other. We are right and they are wrong. Both sides can’t be right. But the flip side of that is also true, both sides can’t both be wrong.
Steven Covey has explored this dynamic and offers the idea that in any dispute there is always a third alternative, often better than either side. He goes on to offer a suggestion about how to achieve this result. It is by listening to each other, getting to know each other, really know each other. It is at this point that we can begin the second part of the great commandment, loving each other.
Are you listening, or are you talking?
Holy God, give us ears to hear what those in our families are saying. Amen.
Always, to God be the glory!