I always knew relationships were important, but this week I learned just exactly how important they are. Through different events in my classroom this week, I had opportunities to talk to my kids more individually, and realized they just want to talk to someone who cares and actually have that person listen to them. I didn’t realize how many of my kids just don’t have anyone who listens to them! I grew up in a house where my mom wanted to talk to me after school, and I was the one trying to push her away so I could watch “Full House” or “Step by Step”!! (haha, sorry mom!!thanks for always wanting to talk to me) So I just think I assumed that my kids did too!
One situation this week especially got to me. I was going to cancel campaigners this week because only one girl could go, but when I told her I was maybe going to cancel it, she freaked out (like really, freaked out) and said (more like shouted) “I count on having this time, its not my fault all of the other girls can’t go, I just want to have this time to talk to you! My mom is at work and I don’t want to call her, so can we please just still have it?” I was seriously shocked. I couldn’t believe how much she wanted to have campaigners, when honestly most of the time I am wondering if this girl even likes me! (She is not exactly nice to me very often!!) So, we still had it. We ended up going for a walk and getting ice cream and just having a really good conversation. As soon as the bell rang, she was at my desk ready to go and just started talking. My heart broke for her as she explained how she was hurting at home without her mom ever there, feels like she has no one at school, and said she hopes her dad moves to the states so she doesn’t have to see him again! This girl just needs LOVE and somebody to LISTEN to her!
Still thinking about this, I ran across this blog post and it had some serious info I needed to be reminded of on relationships.
1. Love the person. Seriously. Don’t just say it! Do it. Love the person no matter what their label is. You might need help with that. So ask Jesus to increase your love for people. Love is the most important aspect.
2. Care about the person’s story. A person is not a frog to dissect as you did in 8th grade biology. A person is soul that is to be handled with care. Only ask questions you care about! Only ask questions if you care! (This is a hard one, I feel like as a teacher I am always being pulled in 20 different directions!)
3. Know their name. A person’s name is the first break into the unknown. So learn it and do your best to remember.
4. Think about a good novel. Every good story is full of what? People, places, things, a thesis, a storyline, a protagonist, an antagonist and more. Questions are a way to get to story. Take a minute, yes, right now, to write down five questions that would lead to knowing a story.
5. Ask questions without question marks. Tell me about growing up. Describe a typical day for you. Tell me about one of your passions. I’d love to hear more about that. I’m very interested in this, tell me more. Each of these questions lead to answers that tell SO much about a person, and can help you learn to love them more!
6. Pay attention when in conversation. Remember things. This may seem mundane, but if you remember and connect dots when listening a person is more likely to share and to trust. Listening is one way of showing you love, care and are interested in the person.
7. Know how you best listen. If you want to get to know someone and you know you’re easily distracted, if possible move to a location where you can best give the person in front of you your greatest attention. If you get distracted by comings and goings, put your back to the door and face the wall. If you are at a party and there are lots of interruptions, sit at table, by each other in the living room or even suggest, “i’d love to get to know more of your story, would you want to get coffee and then set a plan at that moment!”
8. Think about questions you’d like to be asked. What are the things you wish people knew about you, but never ask to find out? Take a minute. What are they? Form questions that you could ask yourself to get to these things. Then when in conversation with someone else ask questions that get to that stuff.
9. Don’t have an agenda outside getting to know the person.
10. Be willing to be known too. People are most of all human. That is the most common thing we share. It is intrinsic to us. It is who we were created to be. And the human experience is full of life and story. It takes time, but every human has a story worth knowing.
“Get to know the person, not the label of kid, teacher, student, boss, mom, etc!”
“Most of the time we treat people as though they are statues. We see their form, label them and then ask questions from there.”
“It takes work to get to the middle. It takes a desire to know what is on the inside. It takes an attitude that speaks to the value of what lives underneath, that what is inside has just as much, if not more value than the appearance.”
“In many ways we must unlearn our “get to know you” strategies. Instead of asking questions such as, what do you do? where do you work? where did you go to college? what did you study? how long have you been a mom? how long have you two been dating? and so on. Begin with questions that get to the good stuff. (the other stuff is easy to learn) Ask questions that get to know a human, not a thing or occupation. Ask questions like: Where do you live? What is your favorite thing about your neighborhood? What do you love about life right now? What do you enjoy about your job? What are you passionate about?”
Ask questions, CARE, and most of all, love. That is how we will bring the kingdom!