I like words. I especially like song lyrics and insightful quotes. My children are routinely handed liner notes to read along while listening to music; they are frequently spellbound by the powerful words of long-since-dead people.
A while ago, I collected a couple dozen quotes, typed them out in Copperplate Gothic Light, and printed them to fit in a 5″ x 7″ frame. Every week I swap out the quote. The frame is positioned at the breakfast bar — where the children (and Rob and myself) are bound to see it.
This next one hasn’t made its first appearance, but it will soon be put it into the rotation:
When you talk, you are repeating what you already know.
When you listen, you are learning something new.
I like this quote.
It’s delivers a message similar to Zeno of Citium’s thought:
“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.”
I like the first quote better because it’s a reminder to be humble in the presence of others and listen to what they might know.
(“Little-Miss-Smarty-Pants” was a nickname of mine for a stretch of time in the 1970’s. I heard it as a compliment despite the tone my elementary school principal used.)
This afternoon when I was with my husband’s family, I thought about the first quote. I listened more than I spoke. (I think.) And after twenty years of knowing Rob’s family, I think they’re beginning to like me more. (It could be that I’m mellowing out or they’ve built up a tolerance.)
I intend to practice the use of mouth/ear ratio at Christmastime.
Keep chanting it . . .
4 thoughts on “Employing One’s Ears and Mouth in their Proper Proportions”
Writing is listening. You’ve become a professional writer and have forced yourself to listen to others as well as your inner self more than in the past. You write what you hear from your inner being, your mind and your senses. Time and maturity changes almost everyone, even those of us who are well along in years. What has not changed however, is our love of each individual member of our family and that includes you. Keep writing, keep listening and keep loving.
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Don’t make my eyes work (tear up) this late at night, Bob.
And perhaps being the mother of four has made your listening and hearing more acute. Growing up it is natural to put oneself first and to try to test the waters through words. Getting older and being a parent puts others first. Also the need to try to understand what the children are really saying…..You do a very good job at that!
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Thank you, Mom. You’re a hard act to follow, especially with respect to being patient.