Listening with Childlike Curiosity and Wonder

by Quentin Schultze

A basic principle of servant communication is that listening is the most important communicative skill. Listening is how we become intimate with reality so that when we speak or write we know what we’re talking about and who we’re talking with.

But listening is not easy. I believe it’s the hardest communication skill to learn. Our egos and distractions are always in the way.

One way to position ourselves as listeners is to recall what it was like as a child to listen in on life. I remember this particularly at meals with extended family. I always learned so much about my own siblings and parents from those conversations. I was amazed.

As children we were much more likely to listen with curiosity and wonder than we are as adults. How often do we now expect to learn something new? How often are we delighted at the wordplay and laughter of others? How anxious are we to contribute to the conversation rather than just listen in?

Watch a child listening in on others’ discourse. You’ll see wonder and curiosity in that young person’s eyes. We’re served well when we can find the same emotions as adults, who think we’ve already heard and learned everything there is to know in life.

Thanks for listening.

—Quin Schultze

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