Listening – it’s the manly thing to do!

Posted on September 20, 2014 · Posted in Communication, Proverbs and the Gospel

This post is directed to husbands and fathers. However, wives and moms are welcome to read as well. Feel free to pass this on to your husbands.

He who answers before listening—
       that is his folly and his shame.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Proverbs 18:13

This is something that as men we seriously need to take to heart. Pride leads us to think that we can solve problems by making educated guesses or by relying on our own analysis. So, we tend to speak first and ask questions later.  But Proverbs 18:13 makes the startling statement that answering before listening is a foolish and shameful thing.  When we answer before we listen we act as though we don’t need input from others to make a wise judgment. Over time this attitude can lead to bitterness and resentment from those we lead.

This is one sin whose bitter fruit may take years to mature. Little children
seldom have either the ability or the opportunity to address the damage you
cause by answering before listening. Here is an example. Dad hears his two boys appearing to have yet another problem with sharing a toy.

“Josh, I see that you still have
not learned to share your toy with Ryan.”

“But, daddy, this time I didn’t….“

“Now Josh, you know that you must
respect daddy and not talk back to me.”

“But, daddy.…”

“Josh, I said no back talking! It is not right before God to be disrespectful to daddy. Not another word!”

What Josh was trying to say was that Ryan was not upset with Josh about sharing the toy. Ryan was actually fussing because he rolled the toy over his own finger. Even though Josh had been guilty of not sharing in the past, this time he was actually sharing with Ryan when Ryan hurt his finger.

Josh knew that if he said any more in his defense he would be disciplined, so he just went along with Dad’s faulty assessment. Over the years Josh said less and less when Dad answered before listening. By the time Josh reached his teen years he wasn’t really interested in hearing what Dad had to say about anything. Dad had become an expert at answering before listening. Dad had lost the opportunity to find out what Josh really thought, because he answered without listening.

This is why this sin is shameful. It can rob you of the relationships you hold most dear.  Have the courage to ask your wife if you answer before you listen. It is not too late to reclaim the ground you may have lost. God is a gracious God.

God can help you change. Your family needs you to be a listener who really hears. It is the manly thing to do!

Jay Younts
Jay Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger. He is the author of Everyday Talk and other materials on parenting. He has been teaching and speaking on parenting issues for 30 years. Jay and his wife, Ruth, live in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. He serves as a ruling elder at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He and Ruth have five adult children.