A few years ago, I was deeply engaged in conversation with a woman while my little girl, Alani was standing beside me and really wanting my attention. This woman was pouring her heart out to me, and I didn’t want to cut her off mid-sentence, but Alani was tugging on my pant leg, desperate for my attention.
I started to get frustrated with my little girl, but instead of acting on that feeling, I decided to make a positive deposit into her heart. I interrupted the woman very respectfully and said, “Just one minute. I need to speak with my daughter, but I really want to hear the rest of your story.” Then I knelt down beside Alani and looked attentively into her big brown eyes and whispered, “I know you want to talk to me right now, but I am already speaking with this woman, and I can’t listen to both of you at the same time. Honey, what you have to say is so important to me, I don’t want to miss one single word of it, so give me two minutes to finish up, and I’ll give you my full attention.”
Alani smiled at me and nodded in agreement. In fact, her whole body language changed because she felt important. She stood a little taller and prouder knowing that I truly wanted to listen to her. That deposit in her life let her know how much she mattered to me. She knew that she would have her mother’s undivided attention in a few minutes, and she was content to wait for me.
It’s easy to get busy in life, and if you’re like me, you can listen and work at the same time. We call it “multi-tasking,”
but sometimes multi-tasking isn’t the best use of our time. Sometimes we have to stop, look people in the eyes, and give them the gift of listening. We need to take time to deposit value in their hearts. We need to support one another, and listening is an amazing way of doing just that.
As you go about your day, remember to give people the gift of listening. It seems like such a little thing, but those little deposits will eventually make a big difference. When you make deposits in people, you are making deposits in eternity, and that is what pleases the heart of God.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry
(James 1:19, NLT)