The Secret to Talking

I watched a wonderful movie last night that is based in a true story.  The name of the movie is “We Bought a Zoo” starring Matt Damon.  He plays a young widowed yuppie with two kids who decides to change his lifestyle and do something different.  They go house hunting, and they decide on a beautiful country house – they just fall in love with it.  When they find out a run down zoo goes with it, he says “Why not” and buys it anyway.  His 7 year old daughter is thrilled, but his 14 year old son is not.

The movie goes on to show how they slowly put the zoo back into working order, but the relationship between father and son gets more and more strained.  They yell at each other and ignore each other and fall farther and farther apart.  The boy is struggling trying to figure out what to say to the 13 year old girl that lives on the grounds, and finally goes to his dad for advice.  A reconciliation happens between them, and tears come to my eyes.

I just can’t help but be filled with joy when a father and son reconcile their differences.  My Dad left when I was 5, and I hated him for a good part my life.  Oh, I would call him on Fathers Day, but that was about it form communication between us. He sent checks for the kids for Christ,mas  and we lived distant lives.  But them he came to Iowa to visit me, and everything changed.  I got to know my Dad in that visit.  How, you may ask?

I’ll take you back to the movie.  Matt Damon is talking to his son, and the young man is asking him how to talk to girls.  It turns out he likes this 13 year old girl, but just can’t get the right words.  His dad  leans over and says these amazing words “The secret to talking is listening”.  When I heard that, my mind started  working on his blog.  I never could find the words to say to my Dad until I listened to him tell his story.  After that visit, we became very close, and we visited often.  It became a loving relationship, and that was very rewarding.

I am not a good listener.  It is something I have to work hard at.  I want to tell my story, talk on my time, and talk about me!  when I am listening, it’s about the other person. and sometimes I just find that boring.   I am reaching myself to be more patient with people and let them talk, thus listening more.  I also need a huge portion of humility to let them go first.  But it’s not enough just to  listen in my opinion.  I have to absorb what they say as well, so when I meet up with them a week or two from now, I can ask them how Aunt Mildred is doing after her hospital stay (which they told me about the last time we met).This is what I am very bad at.

James 1:19  Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be                                                      swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath

I am praying that God will not only make me a better listener, but also that my memory will improve so I can remember these things.  I feel like I should carry a small notebook around and take notes!  Maybe that’s the only answer for me.  But I must get better at listening if I want to have good conversations with people.  After all, if I don’t take an interest in them, and remember what we talked about, why should hey take an interest in me?

The secret to talking is listening.  A good lesson from a good movie.  I’m glad I was listening!




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