On Listening (Part 5)

"Listen to the sounds around you now. The whir of a fan, a distant meow."

(from Feet, Head... Go to Bed)

In 2021, I published a children's book called Feet, Head...Go to Bed.

Based on a personal experience I had helping my stubbornly non-sleeper son fall asleep at night.

In a moment of desperation, I remembered an exercise my 3rd grade drama camp instructor had led our group through circa 1980.

This gentle body scan guided me to notice various parts of my body one at a time and allow them to melt into the ground. Slowly, the relaxation moved from feet to head.

Tired (no...replace that with exhaustion) and at the end of my rope, I tried it with my non-sleeper son.

By the time we reached his stomach, he was breathing the deep breaths of sleep.

I couldn't believe it.

Every night for three years, we engaged in "Feet, Head" as he called it.

Every night we began with eyes closed and using our ears to listen to the sounds around us -- the whir of his bedroom fan, the cars (or the absence of) on the street, house creaks, and even listening to the silence.

Then, we listened to our bodies. What our toes said, what our legs said, what our elbows, said. Even giving a moment to our eyebrows -- making space for information to emerge from the sheer act of giving attention there.

This practice prompted me to pay attention to how we teach our children to listen.

Interestingly, children learn to listen as part of their journey to speak.

Listening comes first.

Coincidence? I don't think so.

The design of the universe placed humans into a year of listening.

Our first year of life is spent listening, observing...and our brains learning.

Once that year 'accelerator' program is done, we begin to form language and begin to communicate our own needs.

Interestingly, studies show that our ears are listening before we are even born. In the womb, ears are sending signals to the brain. The part of our brain associated with language processing begins working during pregnancy.

After birth, listening is emphasized at home and school. It's celebrated by parents and teachers who have students who listen. However, in this context, "listening" tends to mean "do what I tell you." It's a rule following tactic.

When do babies start to hear? Can my baby hear my voice during pregnancy? - BBC Tiny Happy People

Here’s why ‘baby talk’ is good for your baby (theconversation.com)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may also like...