When my daughter turned sixteen I invited her for the first time to participate in a daily workshop I was leading. The topic of the workshop was developing authentic listening skills. During the exercise all of the participants admitted to poor listening skills. They related that during their own conversations they often interrupted each other, talked over one another and repeatedly demonstrated that they were not really listening to others. During the debriefing afterwards my daughter suddenly became emotional and pointed out a small but previously overlooked factor. With her teenager’s open and naive curiosity, she demonstrated her awareness and surprised the other participants when she asked,
“What has happened to everyone that they seem to have lost
their natural awareness and concern for your fellow human being? “
“Has everyone lost their natural empathy?”
“Does this happen to everyone later in life?”
“Is this the world you are creating for the next generation?”
We were all so amazed that it was difficult for anyone to directly answer her. We realized that she was right. She had brought to our attention the fact that we adults had lost our awareness. We had somehow misplaced our ability to be sincerely aware of what others in our lives were telling us. My daughter’s questions immediately focused everyone’s attention on Awareness and the need to learn new skills. Her Awareness that poor listening skills could be related to a lack of empathy and elicited a whole new view of the matter. Suddenly everyone in the room was aware that we all need commitment to practice, relearn and refresh our ability to direct our attention through personal awareness, awareness that will lead to better outcomes.
Remember, better outcomes, after all, are the points of all this.
My daughter’s questions also brought the older generation in touch with the younger generation in a responsible way so that the whole room became an awareness lab, a place of learning and human interaction.
“What is your legacy for the next generation?”
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