Ok, I know your mother told you never to eavesdrop. It is not polite. It is none of your business. No one likes a snoop. And many other cautions were directed at you. However, let’s ask….. WHY NOT? They are in public. They are within earshot. How could I not hear them? And if I hear them, is that really eavesdropping or just being present! So, you are at the boarding gate at the airport. Or you are at the neighborhood playground with your toddler, and numerous others are there with their toddlers. Please, do not tell me that you are bringing earplugs and not going to overhear what they are saying! We all eavesdrop. We can’t avoid it.

What I am saying is that you naturally hear the conversations of others. Now, instead of trying not to hear them, change your perspective and listen. Listen well. Listen with empathy. Listen with passion. Listen with curiosity.

After you listen, stop and reflect. What are you hearing? What does it mean? What are you learning and observing about human nature? The process of reflection seems to be a lost art. When was the last time that you gave yourself time to reflect on what is happening around you? Your 5th grader has announced that she is a vegetarian. Where did that come from? How curious are you? When will you take time to sit with her and hear the story of how she came to this announcement. What are her hopes for herself? For the animals that she will not eat? For the environment that will result? Your 5th grader is thinking deeply. Be curious. Join her in that curiosity. Do some research. Read about vegetarians and the advantages and the health implications. Start a conversation.

Do we even remember how to engage in conversation? We are all so focused on our phones, and watching Snapchat videos and reading Twitter comments that we have lost the art of engaging others.