View The Journey Begins on Smashwords

View The Okapi's Tale on Smashwords

View The Lion's Tale on Smashwords




When people share their feelings with us, do we listen? Or do we try to fix things for them?
Our children have taught me so much...but they had to work hard to help me learn this lesson! I'm a 'fixer.' So they'd share their sadness with me and I'd try to fix it. They'd share their anger or fear with me and I'd try to fix it. I didn't try to fix THEM, just IT - the situation. But still, it wasn't what they wanted or needed.
Our older daughter has a very special friend called Feeling Bear who helps her work through her problems. I've always encouraged her conversations with Feeling Bear when something was awry because I knew he'd help solve things. But it's only in the last year or so that I had an epiphany. Feeling bear doesn't fix things by making suggestions and comments (he's a stuffed toy, for goodness sake)! He helps fix things by listening! That's it! No more, no less.
So, although it's humbling to be taught a lesson by a stuffed toy, I finally get it; when people share their feelings with you, they just want you to listen!
When people share their feelings
they want you to listen - not fix things!


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (20)

It is very humbling, even a little embarrasing when a child or in your case a stuffed toy. I say embarrasing because childrenlook up to us to have all the answers, to do all the right things. I think peopke, not just parents should listen a bit more, rather then shut them up!

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

I agree with you that people in general need to listen more. And I think it's really important that we show children (anybody's children, not just our own) that adults don't always have the answers but that they know where to go to find answers.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

I always remember when I first went to Arizona which was many years ago and I was told that when the American Indians'( must have been Navajo or Hopi,) met to discuss anything they would sit and listen to what one person had to say .Whilst that person spoke no one would interject in any way but remain silent. Only when the person had finished speaking was someone then allowed to make a point . Today, can you imagine when discussing with anyone, we always interupt trying to get our point of view over and in the end it just becomes a babble of noise. Hence I am all for listening but I am far from perfect and have to work at it .

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Rhiannon. Anonymous is me. Brian. This blogging not good for my little grey cells. Ha ha I couldn't get my view over other than go anonymous .

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I love your thoughts and just how beautiful the children are.
Love Nana Kathi

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

You are so correct in saying that people in the past seemed to listen so much better than we do. I know that in the schools I've taught, I had to teach students how to listen respectfully. I'm not quite sure why we lost the ability to listen. Is it that we have less time or that we're narcissistic? And as far as being perfect is concerned...who among us is? But the important thing is that we keep on working to improve.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

Anonymous is fine :) I think your little grey cells are working great. And remember that thinking is good exercise for them.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

Thank you, Nana Kathi. Did you see the thought that Jacob posted on Facebook the other day? He's starting to post little thoughts of his own. I wish I'd started at 13!

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

Great post Rhia! Yes, everyone elses's stuff seems so easy to fix. We need to listen and be heard to feel better no matter what we are going through.

Thank you for the comment, Sally. I think that we special educators are among the worse for trying to fix everything...and it takes a lot of self control to let the children make the mistakes doesn't it?

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

That is so true, we just want to be heard. I talk to my dog Babycakes and the way she tilts her head as she listens to me melts my heart and no problem is too big to solve myself after that.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPAM

You're so right, Pam. Sometimes I think that animals (and stuffed toys) are so much better at this than we humans are. Just another thing we can learn from them...!

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

Hi Rhia,
I often tell my students and my own children, when you listen, you learn. I am very passionate about listening to ohters because they do not want an answer to a problem they are having or for us to fix what is going on in their lives, they just need someone to listen and show they care.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCindy Santellan

That's for certain, Cindy. I think it's listening that makes us wise, don't you? And I don't think anything makes us feel important than someone giving us the floor and 100% of their attention.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

What a lovely post. You are right, out first reaction as a mother is to try and fix things. But sometimes providing a listening ear is enough

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe mum of all trades

Do you have a twitter handle or an email that I can send an invite for our triberr tribe?

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe mum of all trades

Yes, mothers (and special ed teachers) are notorious 'fixers' and we need to guard against that don't you think? My email is probably the best way to contact me. It's Thank you for leaving a message.

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

I love this example of how we have lost how we share thoughts and feelings and listening has always been the most important part of communication. I hope I am a great listener or at least I try too be. I have found in the past that many of my friends call. just to vent and it is fine with me. I just hope when the time comes I will have someone to listen to me. My husband is the fixer in this house so listening comes easy for me. That makes things work well together in my house.

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmma Dorsey

I would suspect that people who are interested in blogs such as this have most of the things I comment about in perspective already. And if we don't have them quite mastered yet, I suspect that we are aware of that and are working on them. Thank you for the comment; it's greatly appreciated.

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

It seems as though your husband and you have it all worked out and that's great. There's nothing better than being married to your friend is there?

February 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRhia Roberts

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« Jumping to Conclusions | Time »