On Listening

I got a speeding ticket once, and took the option of sitting through a driver’s training refresher class in lieu of paying a fine. The instructor led off with a question: “How do you know when you’re completely stopped at a STOP sign?”

None of the dozen adults in the room could provide an answer that satisfied him. He finally answered it himself: “When your wheels aren’t turning!”

Whatever the exchange taught me was as much about language as about driving.

In her practical strategies for helping men become better listeners Kimberly Probolus has three suggestions: Stop talking; hear the words being said and take them at face value; and ask questions. (“Men, You Need to Listen to Women,” Letter to the NYTimes, 2-14-20)

The definition of “truism” as “a statement that is obviously true and says nothing new or interesting” shorts the potential of some truisms to be useful. A car with resting wheels is stopped. Stop talking to listen. First do no harm. Some truths are too clear to be obvious.

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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