Listening more than talking

Published 8:28 pm Thursday, August 30, 2018

Like I have said before, one of the perks of my job is meeting some pretty amazing people.

This week, I met a fellow by the name of Harvey Jones.

Mr. Jones is not one that has a large personality or anything. In fact, he is rather quiet and unassuming.

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I was doing a story about the CAP Center and their mentoring program, and I met Mr. Jones who works with the organization as a mentor.

The program does not require a volunteer to be a certified teacher or tutor, they are just seeking people to take an hour out of their week and spend time with a child who is at-risk.

Mr. Jones has been serving as a mentor since the 80s.

In talking with him, it was apparent to me how he could really be a positive influence on someone who needed a role model.

His voice was calming, and his eyes were filled with compassion. He didn’t come across preachy or judgmental, either.

I wondered how he might feel about taking on a scattered middle-aged-woman as one of his mentees.

As we talked, I learned that Mr. Jones would sometimes play games with his young friends, and on occasion help out with homework.

But what he said he did the most when he met with these young men was just talk with them and listen.

That struck me.

How often do we all just need somebody to listen to us, I mean really listen?

I know there are plenty of times I think I am listening, but in reality, I’m not.

I’m just anxiously waiting to respond.

And you know that is not always appreciated.

I should know.

When hubby shares with me dilemmas he may be experiencing, I jump right in with the “fix it” answers.

You would think that I would have learned by now that he is not looking for my brilliant solutions, he just wants to be heard.

Listening is an attribute that I really have to work on.

We live in a world that is go go go all the time, and everybody seems to just be talking talking talking.

Listening means we have to stop and slow it down, which seems nearly impossible with today’s technology.

Multi-tasking seems to be the norm, and I know for me, although I think I can do many things in one fell swoop, listening paired with anything else does not work.

Take for instance, in the morning, when I am listening to the morning news, I also try to scroll through Facebook.

All of the sudden, I realize, I really haven’t heard what was said on TV.

Same goes for when one of my children is trying to talk to me.

I can’t really hear what they are saying if I am engaged in something else.

It is just impossible.

That is probably why listening is so hard.

It takes uninterrupted attention because when you do several things at once, unfortunately, listening gets lost.

For those children who have had the privilege of having Mr. Jones as their mentor, you are lucky.

Having someone take the time and to listen to you is a gift, a gift I want to learn how to give.

Terri Cowart Frazier is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. Readers are invited to submit their opinions for publication.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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