Hi Mini-Women! Hannah here. I am loving this series on friendship, and today’s topic is no different:
BEING A GOOD LISTENER.
We’ve all been around someone who isn’t a good listener (maybe it’s you, but we’ll talk about that in a minute). It can be really annoying and even hurtful when someone doesn’t hear what you have to say. How about it? You pour out your heart — about how you are scared about your next test in math, or how you don’t like the clothes you have to wear, or how someone in your family was mean to you at the last holiday gathering — and the person you’re talking to…well they aren’t listening, are they?
You know they aren’t because they usually say something like –
“Oh yeah that happened to me but it was way worse. Let me tell you about my story!”
“Sorry ‘bout that. That sounds rough. Hey, where do you want meet up later to study?”
Or my favorite –
Right. Because saying “stop worrying” always makes you stop worrying. How ‘bout it, Mini-Women?
Anyway, we know how sad responses like that can make us. Everyone wants to feel loved and listened to. We can’t change our friends – but we CAN change ourselves, especially when it comes to being the Listener.
When our friends come to us with a problem, first of all, we should feel honored. We are the people they choose to reach out to and say, “I’m sinking here, and I think you could throw me a life preserver! Help me out, would ya?” We are their source of comfort and we should take that seriously. We’re the person God is using to come to their rescue.
Let’s hear what James in the Bible had to say about listening.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)
(Side note: When it comes to good advice, check out the book of James in the Bible. I read that book constantly. I feel like he would have been a great guy to just chat about life with. He’d probably be a great listener! Anyway, back to the post.)
Being “quick to listen” means really hearing why they’re scared in math, or why they hate their dorky clothes, or why their family member may have been mean. We don’t need to jump right in with our example. Maybe later we can, but not right away. Right away makes it look like we’re just straining for them to finish so we can talk about ourselves. And we all know that’s kinda selfish and no one really likes a selfish friend. Maybe we will never get a chance to share our example, and that’s all right. James says be slow to speak. And I like that advice.
If you’re reading this and thinking that maybe you are the bad listener friend – it’s okay! That’s why we’re all here – to learn how to be better friends.
Just keep this in mind the next time your friends come to you – show interest in THEM. Not in your own story, not in moving on to the next topic, not in telling them not to worry.
Really listen to their fears and problems and show interest in what they have to say.
Repeat some details back to them to make sure you’ve got the story right.
Offer to pray with them right then and there, and definitely assure them that this problem is going right into your Talking to God journal!
Speaking of your journal, this would be a good time to explore with God what kind of listener you are. Confess to the times recently when you wanted somebody to hurry up and finish what they were saying so you could talk about YOU.
Complain about the friends whose eyes glaze over when it’s your turn. Ask for help with being quicker to listen – and not just hear but actually CARE. As always, once you’ve poured it all out to God, answers will start to come to you. It’s amazing.
If you want to post a comment, (1) tell us which of these best describes you –
I’M ALL EARS (you listen a lot more than you talk)
I’M ALL MOUTH (you like to talk to your friends and maybe you don’t listen as often as you could)
I’M SOME OF BOTH, BUT I LEAN MORE TOWARD ____________________
And (2) what’s your prayer about that, in your own words (for example, “God? Please help me to stop being a jabber jaws!”)
Love you girls!
Hello, Amazing Tribelet of Mini-Women. Thanks for being so patient in waiting for this next post in our How To Be an Awesome Friend series. AND for your great, encouraging comments on last week’s Mini-Makers post. I’m already getting entries for April’s Showcase. Yeah, you all rock.
Now on to TODAY’S post . . .
Y’know, I don’t know when it happened, but somehow being snarky has become the new cool. You get what I mean, right?
People on TV and the radio and the Internet think it’s just hilarious to put people down — even for the smallest things. They make fun of everything from the outfits stars wear at Awards shows to a Senator stumbling over a word in a speech.
Kids will say anything as long as THEY think it’s funny — no matter how it might make the other person feel. YOU: I read Anne of Green Gables for the third time this weekend! FRIEND: Why? OTHER FRIEND: You really need to get a life.
Even in our own families we think being sarcastic for the sake of getting a laugh is perfectly fine:
SISTER: I got an A on my math test!
YOU: What do you want, a parade?
We call that being snarky — and here’s the deal with it: it’s NOT funny to the person receiving it. No matter how many giggles and snickers you get out of everybody else, that friend who’s just been told she looks like she has a bird’s nest on her head (when she was going for a messy bun) is not laughing, at least not on the inside.
All you have to do to get my drift here is think about the last time a friend (or one of your siblings) said something super sarcastic to you. Whatcha got going on with your hair? (when you just spent an hour trying to French braid it) Do us all a favor, bestie. Don’t sing. (when everybody’s joining in on a chorus of “Beauty and the Beast on the way home from the movies) Man, it stung, didn’t it?
That’s not because you’re too sensitive
And it’s not because you can’t take a joke
And it definitely isn’t because you don’t have a sense of humor
IT’S BECAUSE YOU’RE A HUMAN BEING, AND THAT STUFF HURTS.
So why, oh why do we do it to the people we love the most?
We love the laughter.
We like feeling smart.
It makes us feel trendy and teenagery and cool
But is it really worth it when it hurts people’s feelings, makes them think they’re not as with it as you are? Besides, just because you can come up with smarty-pants comments doesn’t mean you’re smart or cool or grown up.
It means you’re not a very good friend at that moment.
So how do we break the snark habit? Here are a few things that help me — because, yes, I can whip out my rapier wit with the best of them. (If you don’t know what rapier means, you might look it up and share with us what you find)
(1) Apologize to the people you’ve been snarky with and tell them you’re trying to curb your snark bark (Sorry — I couldn’t resist that). I know I can be pretty rough with my, um, humor, and I’m sorry if I’ve hurt your feelings. I’m really working on it. And I DO think you’re awesome.
(2) Come up with more positive ways to use your quick mind. Instead of Aren’t you afraid the swallows are going to lay their eggs in your hair? You might go with I like that bun thing you have going on. Don’t change a thing.
(3) Refuse to join in when other people are doing the snark thing. That doesn’t mean correct everybody; you don’t have to be the sarcasm police. Just make it clear YOU aren’t going to do it.
OTHER FRIENDS: Ashley, are you going to tell us another story about your cat? I just want to know so I can plan my nap.
YOU: Yikes, Ashley, this is a tough crowd. So, tell me about Fluffy.
(4) If you aren’t sure if what you’re doing is snarky, think about whether you’d say those things to your parents. I’ll give you an example. The other day my daughter was saying she was really anxious as a child, and my granddaughter (HER daughter) said, “What a shock.” Funny, but did she get away with that with her mom? Uh, no. Not appropriate with Mama. Not appropriate with anyone else either.
(5) And of COURSE talk to God about it. None of us can change a bad habit alone, especially when that habit gets you attention and laughs and makes you feel better-than. In your Talking to God Journal, write down all the examples of snarky-ness you’ve noticed among your friends and siblings lately. Ask for God’s help not just to stop, but to be more deliciously positive in the way you talk to everybody.
If you want to post a comment — and we hope you do — tell us where you fall on the Snark Scale:
1 — I don’t have this problem because I can never think of anything funny/sarcastic to say.
2 — I can come up with snarky things in my head but I don’t say them.
3 — I’m only snarky talking about other people, not my friends. We sort of trash people who can’t hear us.
4 — The snarky stuff just pops into my head and before I can stop it, it comes out of my mouth. I have to admit, it sort of feels good.
Since you were so patient waiting for THIS post, you get another one this Wednesday, from Hannah. She’s going to talk about being a better listening friend — so get your ears on. See you then.
Hello, my amazing Tribelet of Mini-Women! You’ve been SO patient this week with all the delays, and we appreciate you. We think the wait has been worthwhile because ALL of this month’s Mini-Makers entries are FABULOUS! (Including Asher’s art above)
If you’re just joining us here on the Tween You and Me blog and you have no idea what we’re talking about right now, just click here and get all the details. Hopefully you’ll want to send in something for our April post (due April 13).
Now, on to the Showcase!
NANCY’S COMMENT: I couldn’t resist starting with this adorable photo taken by SAVANNAH. Don’t you just want hug his furry body? It isn’t easy to catch an action shot like that. Good job, Savannah.
YOUR COMMENT: Good photography makes the viewer react. What did you want to say the minute you saw Savannah’s picture?
AMARISE is making her debut this month with this excerpt from a story she’s working on.
Rachel started school today. She saw three girls.
“Hello!!” Rachel said.
Then all three girls pushed her into the mud.
“Oops, sorry,” one girl said.
“How dare you!!” Rachel said.
But the girls just flipped their hair and left. Rachel ran up to her class quickly.
“Nooo !!!! the whole class said.
There was a test!!!! Finally the bell rang.
“Yes!!! Rachel said.
So they handed in their test. Then …
“You took my test!!!!!” screamed the mean girl at Rachel.
“Give her back her test!” said the teacher.
“But I didn’t take it,” said Rachel.
The mean girl grabbed the test right out of Rachel’s hands. Rachel was shocked!!
NANCY’S COMMENT: What I love about Amarise’s piece is that she’s writing about a subject a LOT of Mini-Women can relate to. It makes me want to read on to find out how the mean girl’s test ended up in Rachel’s hand — and a good story should always make us want more.
YOUR COMMENT: Another thing a good story does is raise questions in the reader’s mind. What is one question that came to YOUR mind as you read Amarise’s story?
VERONICA shares her artistic talent with us this month with this drawing of a Mini-Woman.
NANCY’S COMMENT: Veronica’s sketch makes me grin because I love the girl’s little crooked smile SO much. And the way she’s hugging that Bible? Priceless.
YOUR COMMENT: A good piece of art brings something to life. What do you want to know about the girl in Veronica’s drawing?
THIRZAH has been away from us for a while, but she’s come back with a splash.. Here is Part One of “Amythest’s Hidden Past.”
I woke up in the middle of the night, not really sure why, then I remembered; my dream. I dreamt that I saw a girl, a girl that looked exactly like me, but younger, maybe 1 or 2 months old. Was I going crazy? Or was there something to my dream, I searched my brain for awnsers, and actually found one, the attic! If there was any information about the girl in my dreams it would be there. I tiptoed quietly up the attic stairs, and clicked on my flashlight. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but I searched anyways.
NANCY’S COMMENT: There is nothing like a good mystery, is there? I want to know WHAT is in that attic!
YOUR COMMENT: One of the best things about reading a mystery is guessing what’s going to happen. What do YOU think Amythest is going to find in that attic?
Do we have some talented artists in our community or what? Check out JENNA’s awesome horse drawing. What you can’t see is what she’s written: “If the Son sets you free you are surely free.” John 8:36.
MY COMMENT: There IS feeling of freedom in Jenna’s sketch, isn’t there? It makes me want to run with MY mane flying. Good art should make us feel something.
YOUR COMMENT: What do YOU feel when you gaze at this horse. What does he make YOU want to do?
I love it when a Mini-Woman submits a poem. OLIVIA actually sent in several, and it was hard to choose just one. This was my personal favorite, and it’s perfect for this month as we talk about friends.
(I don’t have many close friends, but I was thinking about my ideal best friend when I wrote this)
I am a butterfly
You are a dove
Alike yet different
Joined on wings of love
I am the ice cream
You are the cone
You’re there for me though I may feel alone
I am a flower
You are a bee
I need you
And you need me
I was a person
In need of a friend
You looked inside and found me
You’re a godsend!
NANCY’S COMMENT: I love the rhyme scheme and the comparison of two people so different and yet so perfect as friends for each other. My fave line: “I am the ice cream You are the cone.”
YOUR COMMENT: What’s YOUR favorite image in Olivia’s poem? OR does this describe you and your CFFs (Close Friends Forever)
HALLE is another member of our Tribelet who has just returned after a while away from us. What you see here from Halle is a Zentangle …
NANCY’S COMMENT: A design like this one isn’t a drawing OF something as much as a piece of art ABOUT something. It reminds me of hot air balloons, and that makes me think of freedom and adventure and faith.
YOUR COMMENT: What is the first thing that comes to YOUR mind when you look at Halle’s Zentangle?
We’re going to close our showcase with an acrostic by our KAELYN:
Loving each other is important everyday
Understanding that God’s love is with us in each and every way
Caring is important , it makes us feel good inside
Knowing that what we are known by God makes me want to be kind
Your turn, my friend, to be kind each and every day. Remember, God’s
Love is there, even on the rainy days.
NANCY’S COMMENT: Kaelyn’s poem makes ME want to compose an acrostic. It’s a good sign when a piece of poetry inspires other people’s creativity.
YOUR COMMENT: If you were going to write an acrostic poem like Kaelyn did, what word would you use? (The way she used LUCKY)
SO much talent, Mini-Women. Some of you sent in more than one photo or poem — please know that I will either use it in the months to come on Mini-Makers or incorporate it into one of our other posts. Tomorrow you’ll have a post in our How To Be an Awesome Friend series, and you never know what might appear from among you …
If you were inspired by what you’ve seen and read here, get ready for the April Mini-Makers Showcase. That will happen on April 18, so you’ll need to get your poems, stories, drawings or photos in by April 13. And if by some mistake I’ve left out something you sent me for March, please email me and let me know. Sometimes things slip through the cracks in my Inbox and I don’t want anyone to be left out.
See you tomorrow, Tribelet!
Hello, Mini-Women! I know some of you are waiting for the Mini-Makers post today. I wanted to let you know that I’m in a FREEZING house — our heating unit has died a very sad (and smoky and smelly) death — and dealing with repairmen and all of that boring adult stuff (being a grown-up can be so annoying at times) has put me a little behind. I want to do the best job possible when posting your AMAZING artistic stuff, so I decided not to rush to get it up today.
TOMORROW for sure, though. Which means if you still have something you’d like to have included and you haven’t sent it to me yet, you still can. Just email me. I’ll be waiting by the fire.
Hi there, ladies, Melle here! Just wanted to let you know that there are new Code Cards available to print on the Tribelet Site (<==== Click there!) There’s also a nifty new sidebar somewhere over there ====> with pictures of Nancy’s books. If you click on them and then click the text that says “Purchase HERE!” it will take you right to the Amazon page for each individual book. (Always ask your grown up before purchasing!) I hope you’re all well my Tribelet friends. May Light and Love be with you always. -Melle
We made porch gardens at my house last weekend, one for each of my girls. What are you doing to get ready for the season change in your part of the world?
Hi, Tribelet of such amazing Mini-Women! Hannah here. I am so excited to be writing to you today in our series on How to Be a Good Friend.
We’re going to talk about being a TRUSTWORTHY friend, and to kick things off, I’ve got a secret. And this secret I’m allowed to tell because it’s my own.
I used to be TERRIBLE at keeping secrets.
I’m serious, Mini-women! I was the worst! Maybe it’s because I’ve always loved a good story, so when someone gave me a good one, I just had to tell others. I couldn’t resist. Of course, I always made sure that anyone I told was never going to run into my friend. That way my friend would never know that I spilled my guts about whatever she had told me.
But that doesn’t really count, does it? You know it now, I knew it then. When you tell a secret, even if your friend never finds out, it’s still a betrayal of her trust.
And now, another secret for you:
It doesn’t get easier just because you get older.
See, when I was younger, I knew it was wrong to tell secrets. But I told myself that they were just little secrets, and of course I would have kept the secret if it had been a really big deal. Once my friends came to me with big deal secrets, THEN I would definitely not tell anyone. As I got older, I thought to myself, then they would be REAL secrets and of course I wouldn’t tell.
Because I’m older NOW, Mini-women, and my mouth still opens about once a week to say something that I shouldn’t say. I have to clamp my lips shut, squirm on my seat, and tell myself – BE. TRUSTWORTHY. HANNAH.
I want to be. I want to be a good friend. If my friends talk about me behind my back, I want them to say, “She’s such a sweetheart, she listens to what I have to say, and I know it’s safe with her!”
I know it can be tempting to tell secrets, but let’s think about it for a moment. A secret is something special, or something important or even something a little scary. Basically – it’s a big deal no matter how big or small. It matters to your friend, and so it should matter to you.
We wouldn’t do this with anything else. If our friend gave us her favorite purse, her favorite dress, her favorite necklace – we wouldn’t dream of giving it away! We’d cherish it forever, because we know how important it was to her.
We need to do the same with secrets. Secrets are more precious than a purse or a dress or some jewelry. A secret is a piece of someone’s heart. We’ve gotta carry it in our own heart then, and pray for her.
Now just a quick note – if a friend ever tells you something about herself or someone else that makes you worry about someone’s safety, then you should tell an adult. (Not your other friends.) It’s not gossip or blabbing then. Being a good friend means making sure your friend is safe.
But otherwise, if your friend tells you that she likes somebody at your school, or that she wants to try out for a new sport and needs your help to exercise and eat healthy, or even if she tells you a ‘scary’ secret, like her parents are fighting a lot and she needs you to pray for them – those secrets are ones we should keep. We can pray for our friends and talk to God about what they need. God is the only one who needs to know about it for right now.
After all, we’d want people to keep our secrets, yes?
In your Talking to God journals this week, ask God to help you avoid gossip. It’s so easy to slip into, and just tell everybody everything. Ask God to help you remember to just chat with Him, and only Him!
Here’s your challenge for Comments: tell us one physical thing you’re going to do to make sure you’ve got a rein on your tongue. What could you do to stop yourself next time you think you might explode with a secret?
Mine is I actually shut my mouth! I really do – I clamp my lips shut and sit on my hands. It’s taken years for me to remind myself, “Hannah, you don’t actually need to say this – talk about something else.” Here are some other suggestions:
Put your hand over your mouth. Like, actually do it.
Take a breath and hold it while you count to ten (you can’t talk when you’re holding our breath …)
Say something random instead, like, “Hey, have you seen anything purple today?”