Friday, July 31, 2009

Do You Hear Me?

Dedicated to Yaakov ben Ora Belka, may he have a speedy recovery.

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Adults - How many times have you said to a child, “You’re not listening to me”?

Kids – How many times have you heard an adult say this?

Tip for parents – When a child complies with a request (especially cleaning up), give copious praise: “What a great listener you are!” This works until about age 8 or 9. After that, say “Thank you for doing ____.” At any age, it helps to add, “You did a great job.”

2 Questions for your table:

1. Does “listen” mean the same thing as “hear”?
2. How many meanings can you think of for the word “hear”?

In Hebrew, “sh’ma” can mean:

- receive the information with your ears
- understand (as in, “are you hearing me?”)
- accept or internalize (like parents sometimes use the word “listen”)

The Sh’ma Yisrael that is customarily said first thing in the morning and last thing at night, has all three meaning. The problem is that most of us adults never got past the first meaning because we never learned.

It was to address this problem that I wrote Chapter 6 of the Art of Amazement, which also has a bit of Jewish wisdom about relationships.

The book is sold out but you can find it used, and we are preparing a new edition for this fall.

In the meantime, here are two resources:
(note the other recommended books too) (click on the second title there)

Shabbat Shalom

PS – daily routine can sometimes dull our listening skills. Here’s a short (2:30) video to wake you up:

And if you're looking for a summer book for a young child, may I recommend Aliza in Mitzvahland. Here is a video of someone reading it aloud:

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The goal of Table Talk is to give you a conversation-starter for the Friday night dinner table. Please print and share.

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