How We Mediators Learn to Listen

Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer award winning author of The Sympathizer, wrote in yesterday’s New York Times about the value of listening.  He relates to how parents are role models for children and how he personally, has quieted down his online life in order to connect more deeply in the real world in front of him.  Most relevant to mediation, Nguyen talks about the value of listening deeply to those with whom we disagree.  It is a beautiful piece that resonates — that teaches us what it means to connect deeply to others by listening and wanting to understand.  Such is the challenge to parties in mediation, whether addressing the terms of their divorce, financially and as parents, or other manner of family conflict. He concludes: “I want to reach out to people who are different than me, as we all must. I want to listen to strangers and I continue to listen to my son, knowing that if I do not listen to him, he will not listen to me.

That is true for all of us. Not everyone will listen, caught up in the noise, but enough might. Those who do not listen will never know what those who listen do: that it is the listening itself that matters, that listening is what connects us to others, and ourselves.”

Link to the full essay here:


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