Thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day to catch up with YOKE and to keep us in your prayers. If you’ve been following us for a while, you know that we talk a lot of leadership development. As one of our core values, we express it this way: we are committed to equipping and empowering the next generation of servant leaders.” As leadership development professionals, though, we’re also committed to developing our own skills. We do this through getting involved with mentors in our own lives, through attending conferences and workshops, and through reading books together.

Our team recently finished an encouraging book called The Emotional Lives of Teenagers: Raising Connected, Capable, and Compassionate Adolescents by Lisa Damour. In her chapter on helping teens express their feelings, she shared a helpful tool, and it’s one that I kind of struggle with myself: listening.

She writes, “instead of listening, we are often waiting for our teenager to finish talking so that we can share a thought that came to mind soon after our teen got started. That’s not listening, that’s turn taking.”

I don’t have teens in the house anymore, but I still often find myself listening to respond. Anyone else? Here’s her advice:

“To really listen, imagine that you are a newspaper editor and that your teenager is one of your reporters, reading you a draft of a newspaper article about an aggravating teacher, or a classmate she’s worried about, or some other troubling news of the day. Here’s your task: As soon as your reporter comes to the end of the article, you have to craft it’s headline.” 

It seems like simple advice, but I’ve already found it so helpful. It also reminds me of the words of James: “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry…” (1:19)

May God grant us the grace, discernment, and discipline to be better listeners – with our teens and with each other – this month. We’re glad to have you on the team!