Monday, July 8, 2013

Sometimes All You Need to Do is Listen

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 "The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them."

— Ralph Nichols

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For three hours, I found myself spellbound by the stories of mountain climber Roger Snyder. In May 2013, Roger become one of highly-determined individuals that can legitimately claim he conquered the summit of Mount Everest.

As I sat in his Aunt Dorothy's living room with seven others, we sat mesmerized as Roger gave his first presentation since returning from Nepal. You could tell Roger was sifting through this memory slides as he spoke--still processing his experiences on the mountain. Hearing someone tell their story of an epic event as they present it for the first time is a unique experience. Roger had many stories that deal with leadership that I'll share in the weeks or month ahead. (Time for me to process and related what I heard.)

Roger's presentation reminded me of a time during my fire career when a member of our district returned home following a shelter deployment and burnover on the Eagle Bar fire in 1988. I never dreamed I would be one of the first persons to greet one of survivors. I didn't know what to say or do and was even more shocked to find that he hadn't gone home first before showing up at dispatch. Instinct took and I listened. Then I asked, "Is there anything I can do?" All he wanted was a hug.

Sometimes all people need is to be heard. Sometimes all people need to do is listen. Sometimes the loudest words are spoken through the silence of just sitting with a friend. As the fire service begins to heal following the Yarnell Hill tragedy, be there for one another. Take the time to listen!

Do you have a story you would like to share about hearing one's epic story for the first time? Share it with us.

Resources for Listening: 

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