“Listen to many, speak to a few.” - William Shakespeare
I usually like to place a quote from someone, someone more witty and insightful than myself, in every blog posting. This quote from Shakespeare, bane of my middle school existence, seemed to sum up the power of listening. As someone who enjoys nothing more than talking until there is nothing left to talk about, listening did not come naturally for me.
It really wasn’t until I had my son that I learned being a patient and active listener is the best skill anyone could ever master. When he was young, no exaggeration, it could take him weeks before he could process his thoughts and be ready to express them. Many conversations began with “ma” then me sitting patiently staring into his eyes trying to use mental telepathy to help him come up with what he wanted to say.
Nowadays, it still might take him a few seconds longer than you or I to collect himself and be ready to speak, but I’ve noticed, this hesitation usually only happens when his topic is very important to him. I have also noticed that if I look away or try to multitask while he is processing, he can shut down the conversation before it even starts. I enjoy and learn from every conversation we have, I don’t want to miss any!
Don’t we all do that though? If I am venting, or chatting or even telling a story and my communication partner is only half listening, I come away thinking “well that was a waste of time, I don’t think they heard a word!” You feel like your thoughts have no value.
This blog, as many others, is probably not going to end up where you thought it was going to end. This conversation about listening came about not as a lesson in “active listening” but rather due to the many listening opportunities I learned about recently from Debby King, Library Outreach Coordinator for Perkins Library and Barbara Figurski, Outreach Librarian for the Talking Book Library.
The Talking Book Library at the Worcester Public Library is a “sub-regional” library of The Perkins Library. It is a free service for people with visual impairment, cognitive impairment, or physical impairment.
Newsline service is an electronic system that allows users to listen to newspapers and magazines via any touch-tone phone. Access Jobline, newspapers, TV listings, grocery flyers, and more. Tip: ask Gina to work with you to set up favorites, etc.
AUDIO described DVDs are available with over 1200 movies, you can get two at a time for two week periods, Note: you will need your own DVD player.
You can borrow as many as six books at a time from the Large Type Print Collection. You can enroll into the automatic system based on what you enjoy. This can be changed at any time.
SHF has several titles on-site at any given time available to any participant who would like to try the experience of listening to books and other material. We will also work with you to establish your own accounts.
I hope these resources are useful to you. Already a member? Please share your experiences!