Yeah, that listening thing. You can hear a lot when you listen.
I have to say, I become frustrated a lot when talking with Dad. His viewpoints on a lot of things are remarkably different than mine, and I want him to understand, to hear me, to digest what I'm saying, and, well, let's be honest, to stop being a butthead and change his mind so that he agrees with me. Fundamentally, that's what most people want: to be right and have people agree with them.
And things change when I listen.
I hear his frustration with how things are. I hear his dream for a better world where everyone is rational, and honest, and good. I hear his sadness in a wish that won't come true. I hear his heartbreak in the losses he's had. I hear his tone shift into lecture mode when he knows he's lost his audience. I hear his annoyance at being unable to remember things. I hear his loss in at being unable to do things he used to be able to do, activities and solutions that came easily before. I hear his fear of a future full of being told he's doing everything wrong.
And eventually, I hear his gratitude in a life well lived, a live well blessed. I hear his joy in a job well done. I hear his humour in the jokes he tells. I hear the hopes and dreams he still has. I hear the goodness he has, his unshakeable belief that all people have good in them. I hear the stories he's told me a half dozen times already and I see the joy it brings him as he tells it to me for the 73rd time. I hear the pride in the new lessons he's learned, the new technology he's mastered.
And I hear his desire to try. He hasn't stopped trying to make the world a better place. He hasn't given up yet.
There are so many things Dad and I disagree on. When I listen, I realize there are so many things we agree on, we've just had different experiences up until this point. When I listen, I hear what he's trying to say and not what just what I want to hear.
I think I needed to listen to understand that.
Unrelated: this post so did not end up where I thought it would.