Take time to listen…you could be saving someone’s life.

Give me your thoughts…like i give you mine…

Every day I try and be grateful for everything I have especially the gift of life. I may not be the richest person in the world, or the person who has fulfilled all their dreams but I’m grateful to be alive. It’s a gift we often take for granted while we really shouldn’t.

After today, I’m very grateful for the people who are and were in my life who took time to listen. Whether what I said made sense, was utter garbage, was selfish or was kind. The bottom line and most important thing is that they listened to me. For a good part of my teen life, I was a troubled child. I felt alone, unwanted, unloved. I got into depression by 15 and was a cutter. Life made absolutely no sense to me, I was led to believe I did nothing right and I had no confidence or self-esteem…I was a useless waste of space. My parents never told me that I was worth something, they were busy fighting over who was the better parent and insulting each other till the sun went down. I often thought to myself…why am I here? I am better off dead.

In all this, I found myself going to my friend’s house a great deal. I loved her mother. To me she had all the imperfections that made her perfect. A woman who loved her drink and smoked like a factory chimney. She was perfect. I watched her communicate with her daughter with envy and I wished that my parents were the same. She could sense there was something wrong with me and slowly I began to open up. She was a voice of affirmation. She made me believe that I actually was somebody. She listened. And I am grateful. She is part of the reason I am alive. She made me believe and I am grateful.

Today I went to see her and found her with a friend. After a while, her friend began to speak of how useless her son was. As much as I wanted to reach out and choke her…I sat there in silence and wondered if she knew that she was probably part of the problem. I know her son…he’s a quiet young man. Recently, my friend brought it to my attention that he was a cutter and was troubled over something he never shared. After his mother left, I was left with my friend’s mom and we began to discuss what was wrong.  He had all the signs I had as a teen and I told her that he was in trouble. If he didn’t find an outlet soon he would either be six feet in the ground or in a prison somewhere.

The boy had been neglected since she got a baby. She put him at the back of her mind. He feels left out; he feels alone, he feels unwanted. Every day, he goes home and goes straight to his room and blasts music blocking out everything else. They do not communicate. They are as good as two strangers who live in the same house. His father is a distant man, to him being a father is sending a cheque for fees and giving him the finger. Once he went to see his dad and asked for fare and his dad put him down. Told him that he was no good of a son and that he could walk home…after all…he was a man. I heard this and felt sick…I wanted to cry. I knew there was a problem and had to make my friends mom understand that she had to do something.

I then reminded her of how great an outlet she was when I was going through my hard teenage years. Too many times in our lives we come across people who are crying for help but we are either too busy, too clueless or too ignorant and selfish to listen. It does not cost a thing to listen. It does not cost a thing to reassure and give comfort to a person. You never know what you are saving! It could be self-worth, love, talent…anything. I recently met a remarkable man whose head was filled with untruths about his talent… about things that he could do but was told he couldn’t. For a while…he believed in what they said to him…until I saw some of his talent and I broke down. I was moved to tears yet I consider myself quite tough. He was excellent at what he did. I had to tell him he was…I had to make him believe he was worth something. I had to make him see himself in my eyes.

I may not be a parent, but I have had enough experience as a child to tell you this, your child needs your attention and affirmation. They need your support through every ‘Phase’ (for lack of a better word) they go through. As a parent, you must find or have something positive to say about your child. Appreciate them for the good they do and discipline with love for the wrongs they do. Too often we find that a child took their own lives and we ask why…after all, he had everything…WRONG! There was something major missing! You as a parent didn’t see the signs and neither did you the class mate, the best friend or the acquaintance. You buried your head in the sand when they began to act out and you called them stubborn or a brat when they did things out of the ordinary. You need to realize that it came from somewhere… and most of the time it’s that you and I failed to listen. Someone said to me that when a child feels unloved, that’s a heart you can’t fix and even if you do succeed…it will take hard work on your part. I appreciate all the kids who grew up like this and turned out bruised but alright! Those who became stronger after their trials.

A wise owl sat on an oak; the more he saw the more the less he spoke; the less he spoke, the more he heard; why aren’t we like this wise old bird? Take time to listen…you could be saving someone’s life.

[Guest post]

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5 thoughts on “Take time to listen…you could be saving someone’s life.

  1. I agree with you thoughts completely. I work with teenagers and the story is the same everywhere. Parents no longer seem to be doing the right thing. They are the most critical, harsh and judgmental. Yet all they need to do is be there, listen, guide, affirm and love.

    I will work on listen more and being consciously there with people and for people. Great Post 🙂

  2. Parents nowadays hardly notice the damage they do, they are too busy keeping appearances and fighting supremacy battles. the child is suffering, sadly the village is no longer there to bring up the child. We however, can be the village, let us listen to the child when they speak.

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