Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post about listening. Most comments were on my Facebook page, and it appears that this is a VERY common side effect of our busy American lives.
I have an update on my efforts to be a better listener. Last week Thursday, Lindsey had a VERY interesting day at school. There was a "contained" explosion of the boiler at her school, and the children were evacuated for some time. They first walked down to the fire department which was only a block and a half away, and then the school district's buses picked them up from there and bussed them to Southwest High School, which is their destination in their emergency evacuation plan. After a few hours they were all bussed back to the school and class resumed while the boiler was being repaired. They declared it operational and safe around 3 p.m.
I heard about this through an emergency auto-call that the school sent to all parents, as well as through a parent forum on Facebook. I knew before I came home that Lindsey would need to have a listener the minute she arrived home.
I had been considering a home-cooked pork chop or chicken dinner, but once I heard this news, I set aside my tentative plans and freed up my time by ordering pizza. Yes, we ordered pizza on a Thursday night, unheard of for our family (though not unusual for a Friday).
Lindsey had gone to a karate class with a friend right after school, and was dropped off at home by her friend's parent. She walked in the door and said, "You would NOT believe the day I had today."
And she was off and talking like it was a race. I ignored my smart phone, ignored the house phone (which rang during this time with another message from the school about the day's incident), ignored the dog and let the younger child play on the floor. She had my undivided attention.
After about 40 minutes, she had relived the experience, shared how very scary it had been, and felt a whole lot better. She even shared an essay she had written about it at her after-school program. She'd gotten about four pages written before she ran out of time. She is a ball of emotion, this girl, and she, like many people I know, feels better after having shared her experience with someone else.
I gave her a hug, thanked her for telling me about it and said that it sounded like a very scary experience. She nodded emphatically that it had been.
I was concerned that she wouldn't want to go back to school Friday morning, unsure of the safety of the school, but I think that her being able to relate the entire experience to a sympathetic audience helped her restore her confidence. She had no problems going to school the next day.
Besides, she learned some moves in her karate class, so she was ready to kick that fire's butt if it came down to that.