The adult must have the ability to listen to the child, not just as a technical skill, but on a spiritual level.
We are living in an age of distraction, with much inner and external noise. This noise weakens one’s ability to hear truly attend to the moment at hand and truly reach out to others. In this work with children, the ability to listen and listen well is critical – as it becomes harder and harder to do so in general society, it will become still more difficult to do so with children.
Children have fewer and fewer role models for true listening, so they can’t do it themselves for others, and when this lack occurs during this critical period of development, children will also lose the ability to listen even to themselves, to their own inner guide, to their conscience, to the calling towards their vocation in life.
Listening is the first step in helping a person to feel valued. It is so easy to become like robots, thinking of the next presentation, worrying about getting each step correct with the child – when the child needs the adult to follow his lead, work with him where he is at, walking forward with him towards the next signpost along the path of self-construction. Other methods of educating the youngest people in our society promote this robot-like attitude, providing a specific set of regulations for all children, and sapping the true joy that comes from working with these children just at the beginning of their lives.
Listening can be good for one’s physical health, affecting heart-rate, oxygen level and blood pressure. When a person realizes he has been deeply heard, his eyes moisten.