Listen with mother
Some of you will remember, and many of you will have heard of, a programme that was on BBC radio called “Listen With Mother”. The first short episode consisting of a collection of songs, rhymes and stories aimed at children under the age of five was broadcast 70 years ago this week (Thursday 16 January).
Learning to listen
Most children love to sing songs, listen to stories and join in with rhymes too. One of the amazing facts we know about the development of the baby in the womb is that he/she can hear things outside of the womb from around 19 weeks, including mum’s voice. That development of interaction, and “listening with mother” begins before a baby is even born. Many pregnant women will play music to their “bump” which they then find soothes their child once they are born, as the baby will remember the sound from inside the comfort of the womb. Babies continue to learn from being spoken and sung to, and develop their language, and even facial expressions from these early interactions. I remember spending a lot of time when my son was first born trying to remember all the nursery rhymes I had sung as a child so I could sing them to him!
My son is now seven and some days I feel that I am continually having to remind him to “listen”! Yet, as a parent, I confess that I don’t always fully listen to him if I am distracted by some of the many things going on around us. That can be the television, the telephone, emails etc. We live in a world where communication is supposed to be one of the easiest and most instantaneous things to do, yet when was the last time you sat and truly listened to someone without any distractions around you? How well do we listen, not just hear? To quote GK Chesterton,
There is a lot of difference between listening and hearing
Even when we are listening, are we really open to what is being said to us? As Stephen Covey says,
Most people don’t listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply
Freedom of speech is preserved in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but hand-in-hand with this must be the willingness of others to listen openly.
The work of Life
. . . has listening at the heart of everything it does. Listening to women and families in their different circumstances. Listening to the questions and concerns raised by young people in the schools we visit. Yet, how often is the prolife movement given an opportunity to be listened to? Sadly, there is sometimes misrepresentation given to the work done at Life because people don’t take the time to truly listen. We are fully aware that this is often down to personal negative experiences or situations, and first and foremost we want to listen to people’s stories and give any support and practical help we possibly can. At Life we will always listen to anyone who approaches us. If you, or someone you know, needs our services please don’t hesitate to contact us, where you will be connected to a trained counsellor or skilled listener. We are here and ready to listen. (see our terms of service for more information.)