Parent-Student Communication

Below is a poem entitled Listen, that was written by an anonymous author.  The words of the poem can help us all better understand how to communicate with the students we serve.


When I ask you to listen to me, and you start giving me advice, you have not done what I asked.

When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.

When I ask you to listen to me, and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me – strange as that may seem.

Listen! All I asked was that you listen – not talk or do – just hear me.

Advice is cheap.  A quarter will get you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper.

I can do for myself.  I’m not helpless – discouraged and faltering maybe, but not helpless.

When you do something for me that I can and need to do myself, you contribute to my fear and weakness.

But when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational, then I can quit trying to convince you and get about the business of understanding what’s behind this irrational fear.

And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious and I don’t need advice.

Irrational fears make sense when we understand what’s behind them.

Perhaps that’s why prayer works – sometimes for some people.

God is mute.  He doesn’t give advice or try to fix things.

He just listens and lets you work it out yourself.

And if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn, and then I’ll listen to you.