The Art of Listening

How would you like to make a difference in the lives of your loved ones, friends, and neighbors, simply by listening? 

To reduce some of the suffering of the nation's veterans, Harvard psychologist, Dr. Paula J. Caplan, came across a very simple, yet effective treatment:  Listening intently with respect.  Caplan says this alternative; low-risk approach is helping veterans heal emotionally.

A study conducted at Harvard Kennedy School in Massachusetts through The Welcome Johnny and Jane Home Project coached untrained civilians to listen to whatever veterans had to say about their war and homecoming experiences.  Listeners were instructed not to ask questions or make comments but to listen with all their attention.  The veterans, who ranged from World War II service members to veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom, uniformly reported the experience was not only positive but also unique, for no one had ever given them the opportunity to say whatever they needed to say without having to respond to someone else's agenda.  The listeners were moved and said they discovered a common shared humanity.  Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Magazine, November 2012, pg. 26

How many times have you wished someone would really listen?  Husbands, wives, clergy, teens, law enforcement personnel, parents, doctors, chaplains, employers--all can learn how to really listen.  For anyone who wants to improve relationships, or come alongside someone experiencing a crisis, there is a helpful one-day training course, offered by Florida Baptist Convention entitled "The Art of Listening."

Forty participants recently completed the course, taught by Chaplain Bob Loy, at First Baptist Church Merritt Island.  The primary goal was to learn how to be “active listeners,” -- listeners who give full attention, do not interrupt, and let people say what they need to say without criticism or judgment. 

The interactive class structure made it easy and pleasant to meet new people and practice the new listening skills.  Every 30 minutes or so, the class broke into small groups of two or three to practice what was learned. The strength of the class was the idea-sharing, role-playing, and thoughtful discussion of the material.  Chaplain Loy was an energetic and enthusiastic facilitator, asking questions which were guaranteed to bring about such discussion.  

First Baptist Church of Merritt Island (FBCMI) welcomed participants from churches in Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, Palm Bay, Cocoa, Merritt Island, Titusville, and Jacksonville.  Pastor Titus Green warmly welcomed the group.  Chaplain Betty Hubert headed the hospitality team and set up the colorful reception and refreshment tables. Cookies, chips, water, juice and coffee were available and very welcome!  Box lunches arrived from Chick-Fil-A right at noon and made it possible for the participants to spend the break time meeting new friends and getting reacquainted with old.  

For those who missed this excellent class, but would like to learn how to be an active listener, the Florida Baptist Convention offers this class online at

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear and slow to speak..."
James 1:19 NKJ

"Let your speech be always with grace, season with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man."  Colossians 4:6 KJV