It is 15 minutes before you are supposed to do something important and one of your students comes up to you and needs to talk. What kind of attention do you give them?
Another student is talking to you and another approaches and begins to talk, how do you deal with this situation?
Your attention is crucial to many more students than you would realize. You may be the most busy youth worker in the world, but the fact is your undivided attention needs to go to listening to a student at times.
This one has been a struggle for me at times. I am the type of person who multitasks. I can be writing an email and listening and engage in a conversation. I can often hold 2 or 3 conversations at once. I believe this has come from my childhood growing up between two different age groups in church and friendships. I wanted to fit in with both, and would often manage this in the same youth group night.
But the downside of this is even if I am listening to someone, I am often not giving them my undivided attention. Unfortunately, more often than I would like to admit I have not listened fully to someone. Most of the time it doesn’t make a big difference. The person goes off without realizing I didn’t listen and I don’t need to follow up.
BUT…. there have been times when I have missed the opportunity to talk to someone more in depth, or have had the individual walk away only to realize they were really hurting.
While listening isn’t always my best skill nor have I always worked on it. But it is one that I have realized I need to work on. I need to work on giving undivided attention. I need to work on going beyond the words the individual says, but listen to what they are really saying. I need to recognize when I can’t give attention and make sure I follow up with the individual and care for them in a way that suits them best.
What has your experience of listening been? What tips/tricks/skills do you utilize to be a better listener?
Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years and blogs exclusively here on LoveGodLoveStudents.com. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. Hit him up on Twitter @CorbinKyle