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Are you REALLY listening?

Updated on October 27, 2009

Its hard to hear when we focus on our own problems.

In today's climate, it seems that everyone has ISSUES. That is the big word. "He has has issues..." is often whispered when someone is socially inept. This makes inappropriate behavior somehow acceptable. Sadly, when the issues are true ones, disagnosed issues, it is far less acceptable. I find that I am constantly getting calls about my sons disability, which is largely social at this point, for actions that a typical teenager would do and a parent would not be notified. Many fourteen year olds use inappropriate language, I am not saying that it is alright, but is in not exclusive to my child with Aspergers. This is actually something he is doing that the other boys his age are doing as well.

Perhaps society on a whole should look at themselves. We are all guilty of some sort of putting ourselves first. We focus so heavily on what is going on in OUR lives that we lose perspective. Like the educators who are focusing too much on my son for his disabilities, we as a social group are thinking only of ourselves. Sure we pretend to listen at the coffee clutch, but truly we are lost in our own thought.

This became clear to me when I was thinking about a few friends who have truly been bogged down with serious problems the past few years. They are so deep in their own issues that they have lost the ability to hear others. Yes, they may be listening, but are they hearing. I am guility of this, we all are. We think that someone else's problem is a direct result from something WE did. That is a bit self centered, don' t you think? But that is what we are, the human race is largely a group so self absorbed that we are literally ruining the world we live in. We think only of our own pleasure and not of others around us. We forget or simply don't care about the wildlife or of people who are really suffering,

We walk around crying poverty if we can't go on the cruise we want to go on, when there are people losing their homes and not having enought to eat. We have lost our perspective. It is scary. We have lost our ability to feel for each other. We think only of ourselves. Therefore, how can we blame my son who has the inability due to neurological insufficiencies for any of his actions. He HAS the diagnosis, what is our excuse?

How can someone listen to their friend tell them about their serious financial problems, that involve not knowing where the food to feed their family will come from, how they will pay their mortgage or their utility bills and then talk incessently about how upset they are with the way the contractor did the work on their house? At least you have the money to fix your house. How can one complain about the seats they got at a concert or a professional sports game? That is very expensive,. at least you can afford to go, you don't have to worry about feeding your family. You have shoes on your feet. You have an expensive car that you drive around and you have the ability to put gas in that car and go where you want to go whenever you want to. The same can't be said for others who are returning cans to recycling and waiting on line at the food banks to get what they need.

What I am saying is, we all need to stop thinking about ourselves for a minute, myself included, I am not immune to this, noone is. We need to REALLY listen to our friends, our spouses, our co workers, our children. Listen with your heart, think about what others are going through and not all about yourself. Do you have clothes on your back? Money in the bank? A roof over your head? Food on your plate? Do you have your health? Then you have alot and you need to think of those that have to say no to any of those questions.

My son has Aspergers Syndrome, this disorder often makes it difficult for the person to think of others besides himself. My son will often block out what you are saying or what you need him to hear. He will not always pick up the social cues that your are hurting, that you need a hug or that you need to be left alone. My son, however, even with his diagnosis, tends to have more empathy than most people I have come in contact with these days. People who do not have neurological limitations by birth. Their limitations have been born by CHOICE and that is truly frightening.


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