The thought entered my mind in a flash, “Let’s go Skiing!” I imagined that my daughters and I would drive up to the Catskills, rent a house, and go skiing at one of the many ski resorts in that area. My goal for the trip was laughter, talking and bonding with my daughters, Alleea and Kennedy. So we ventured off, along with two amazing friends. The weather was perfect, cold but not bitterly cold and with just enough snow to hit the slopes. “We are going to have an amazing time,” I thought as we drove into a gorgeous winter wonderland.
All of us had an incredible time…we skied, rode on inner-tubes, and Kennedy even zip lined! We ate dinner, laughed at comical actions by family and friends, had a few healthy and spirited debates, and everything seemed very normal. Before I knew it the long weekend was coming to an end and I never really discussed anything new with my daughters.
The car ride home
We all got into the car, began our venture back into NYC, and then the magic happened. The 2.5 hour car ride became the platform for discussions on life, love, work and the future. I learned a valuable lesson in the car that day. I need to do more listening and less talking. Alleea talked about her future as it relates to her hopes and dreams, and her goals for work and happiness. I didn’t agree with 100% of what she was saying. Some of her thoughts I found to be well thought out, while others I completely disagreed with at a fundamental level. As we spoke I began to think to myself, how do I respond to her thoughts?
I decided to listen, plant a seed (give a small dose my own opinion) and listen more. Her thoughts were valid, after all they were her thoughts and this was life as seen through her lens. I learned that by listening more and talking less I understood her better and that was my only goal. As a mother, it is very difficult hearing something you do not agree with and not reacting to it in a direct way; but sometimes not being direct is the best way to communicate. Taking time to truly listen to her words, the way that she organized her thoughts and her personal desires, helped me learn more about her.
“The First Duty of Love, is to Listen” –Paul Tillich