# learn to listen
Today as we walked on the beach reaffirming our goal of being available to help others, we began a discussion of “how do you know if you are being helpful”? At first we talked about all of the ways we like to be helpful and skills we have that make us feel useful. But as we thought about where we have been the most helpful, where people have affirmed that we have helped them, we realized it has been in the listening. Learning to listen to understand and not to respond takes practice. Noah and I have been practicing this for several years. At first we had to “check it out”, we used the repeat back technique of “So what I am hearing you say is…. “. I regularly had to ask for clarification on words and meanings, I have gotten better about not interrupting his explanations. Noah asks a lot of questions and has gotten better about leaving space for the answers. It is amazing how often where we are the most helpful is in the listening and in the validating of what is being said. Everyone likes to be heard, so we will continue to practice listening.