The Listening Face
Increasingly, I realise that I bring my handphone with me around the house. Whether it’s because I’m waiting for a delivery, or not wanting to miss out on the messages from the many whatsapp groups I’m in, I observe the disturbing trend that I’m not giving my full attention to the little berry when I’m supposed to.
What’s worse is that I find myself sneaking peeks into my phone’s screen when I feed the little berry, or when I’m reading to her. I couldn’t put my finger on what’s disturbing about that, but this article pretty much sums it up… Reading it makes me wonder whether the little berry will remember me for the times I glance distractedly at my phone when I’m supposed to be responding to her questions, or if she’ll remember GY for the times he’s looking at his phone’s screen when she’s trying to get him to see her feeding the monkey in the car’s passenger seat.
The bits that jump out at me:
My dad gave me the gift of The Listening Face throughout my childhood and tumultuous teen years; I am quite certain it saved me. The fact that my dad valued what I had to say—no matter how unimportant or trivial—gave me the confidence to speak up even in the most intimidating and dangerous situations. My dad’s listening face saved me time after time.
When my children were born, I vowed to give them that same gift. Even at my most distracted and overwhelmed, I can remember offering The Listening Face to my children. It was the one thing I knew I could do well even if I failed at everything else. And now, I continue to make every effort to listen with a loving, non-judgmental expression because I know how critically important it is to the emotional wellbeing of a child (big or small).
Someday I hope my children will remember my eyes, the nodding of my head, and my thoughtful responses. This is exactly how I want to be remembered when I am gone.