Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Providing a Sounding Board
Sometimes, the best help we can give someone is mostly just to listen. Sometimes, the simple act of talking through the issues can help a person clarify their own thoughts or see options and alternatives that they were previously missing. Today, my job was to play that role for a friend.
My friend has been dealing with a variety of challenging situations over the past year or two. From time to time, he asks for some of my time and help in sorting out issues. Mostly, I just try to be a good listener. That means listening without judgment and without any preconceived conclusions. Once I've heard and understood the situation, I do also try to offer some thoughts and suggestions to consider. Of course, this is only when requested as unsolicited advice can often be unwelcome.
As I've seen throughout this year, kindness can and does take on many different forms. It can be a simple gesture of politeness, or a surprise bouquet of flowers, or a ride to a doctor's appointment, or a cold gatorade on a hot day, or a letter to a soldier abroad or a sick child. And sometimes, it's just the gift of time.