As is typical for this time of the year, a recent conversation in the
CNN newsroom centered around the stress of shopping for Christmas gifts.
Needless to say, my colleagues and I discussed a wide range of possibilities, from trying to find the latest video game to the perfect Coach purse.
Our control room director has a young child, and when it came to choosing a gift for his wife, he said he wished he could buy her time!
This triggered a question in my mind: While we spend a great deal of time buying people the perfect gift, do we spend as much time giving them the gift of our attention?
The reality is that what people crave most is feeling validated and listened to. In fact, as M. Scott Peck has pointed out, “You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.”
So, this holiday, let’s make it a challenge to ourselves to really be PRESENT during the festivities. That entails asking a family member what their biggest challenge is at the moment, or asking an elderly relative what they remember most about their childhood, and then really paying attention to the answers. It also entails meeting the challenge of putting your smart phone away for the entire duration of the meal, and resisting the urge to glance at it if you take your kids outside to play.
I am convinced that if we all spent as much time cultivating our listening skills and being present as we do choosing the perfect gift, we would in fact be giving the greatest present of all — validation.
Merry Christmas and wishing you all the best for the Holidays!!!