It’s a challenge to make every blog entry short. Why? Because I’m wordy; I like to talk. But talking is only one element of communication. I’ve been thinking about the overlooked value of listening. As a teacher, I taught students to read and write, analyze and problem-solve, research, remember, and apply knowledge. But did I specifically teach listening skills? Hmm…no. Did you receive instruction on how to listen when you were in school? I think it should be part of the curriculum because these skills affect all relationships in life. (And is also vital in communicating with God, but that’s a topic for another day.) My father was a great listener. He leaned toward the speaker with laser focus and sincere interest, asking pertinent questions. He was genuinely interested in others and it showed. He wanted to learn their stories, their feelings, their dreams, their worth. I can improve by following his example: Be attentive with eye contact; ask questions; be genuinely interested. But there is another element. I need to listen with empathy. This takes effort to see as they see—beyond the words into the heart, and feel as they feel. Good listening carries a powerful message of caring. Henry B. Eyring said, “All of us need true friends to love us, to listen to us, to show us the way, and to testify of truth to us.” I’m going to work on becoming a better listener.