Once upon a time I was a classroom teacher; and as a teacher, determining the learning styles of students sitting in my classroom was priority 1. I couldn't teach if I couldn't reach. The first week of school would often include questionnaires and learning inventories to solve the mystery of "How do you learn?" Auditory, visual, kinesthetic, multi-sensory? I'd studied the curriculum and knew what the end result should be, but how was I going to present the information in a style in which those neurons would reach out and grab it? The challenge gave me a thrill then, and it still makes me smile thinking about it.
During the preparation of presentation, I would often consult my husband for advice on how to touch all learning styles. He, another teacher in the field, excelled in this area. You see, I'm a traditional learner, the perfect combination of visual with a touch of auditory, where I can memorize anything you put in front of me and regurgitate it in a timely fashion to secure the A plus. Perfect for school, horrible for life. A major skill I missed out on in school was learning how to listen, honing in on that auditory processing that wasn't required to get the grade, but absolutely required as a life skill. My husband excelled in this area at school, as a teacher, and in life.
As a forty-something, I've hit the stage of self-realization coupled with transparency. The stage when you are comfortable enough with yourself to call yourself out on weaknesses and hopefully commit time to improve upon them. All that to say, I've enrolled myself in listening practice. Is there such a thing? Sort of. In an effort to multi-task and improve in an area that is a weakness, I've downloaded an app called Audible (there are many others to choose from; this is mine because it's easy). Audible is through Amazon and provides an opportunity to pay a monthly fee to earn credits to purchase books you can listen to. One of my purchases is the New Testament. Y'all, I've read the New Testament multiple times through yearly challenges, bible studies, etc. Listening for me is a whole other experience and it enables me to walk and listen, drive and listen, laundry and listen, clean and listen, etc. I've downloaded several other books as well. Sometimes, my mind will wander, and I'll catch myself in no-man's land, push the bar back, and give it another go. What I've learned through this experience is how to stop and lean in when needed. The experience models everyday life. You know, those times when you're moving through, interacting with a dozen or more situations, and then that one comes along when you need to stop, lean in, and listen carefully?
That's my like today. You may be an excellent listener, and if so, I admire you without even knowing you. But there might be another area of weakness; in fact, if you're human, I know there is. If you're unsure of what it is, ask someone who's around you a lot. They'll share. LOL. Not kidding, though. Don't be afraid to call it out for what it is, and be intentional in your plan to improve.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.