“In Wales there is a romantic village, Beddgelert, the name of which means, “The grave of Gelert.” There is a famous legend about this Gelert, which was a dog, the hound of Llewellyn the Great. One day, on returning to his castle, Llewellyn found his child lying dead, and the hound, Gelert, beside it. Llewellyn at once plunged his sword into the poor animal, only to discover too late a huge wolf which had attacked the child, and which the faithful hound had slain. In his blind rage, Llewellyn had killed a faithful friend.” Such was one account of the legend of Gelert that I read the other day in J. Sidlow Baxter’s book, Awake My Heart.
While I paused to reflect upon the point the author was making with the legend of Gelert, I also thought of other examples of hasty responses. Some which, many of us, must often take notice of and refrain in making.
Listening is a skill we all need to learn… and a skill we all need to improve upon. How many times through email or busy schedules or multitasking have we missed the point of someone’s communication, or worse, misunderstood the intent and filled in the blanks with our own ’story.’ Then in haste, we respond or act upon our misinformation, only to make the situation worse. It takes time and experience to learn how to listen to one another.
There is a class in McLeod University which helps to understand our patterns of poor listening. The class also offers positive changes which will improve our listening skills. So, the next time you find yourself in a communication loop that has turned out poorly… and you see faithful Gelert trying to help you… know the problem and the root cause before you offer a solution. You may also want to sign-up for the McLeod University class on ‘Listening.’