Are You Hearing or Listening?

“Are you listening to me?” What guy has not heard that famous question before? We as men tend to have a unique ability to “tune out” what we want to not listen to. It can be the wife, kids, radio, television, or just general noise. Somehow, we go to this special place of not listening, yet we are hearing. Yes, we are listening for some type of unusual sounds, screams, or something loud that will bring us back to hearing and listening. But when it comes to your family, dad, “Are you hearing or listening?”

Are You Hearing or Listening?


hi(ə)riNG – noun
The faculty of perceiving sounds.
Usually the first sounds that we hear each day is either our spouse snoring or the alarm clock. It is that ability of which we have, one of our five senses, to transfer compressed waves in the air into an audio signal for our brain to register as sound. There are some that do not have the ability to hear. There are some others that are losing the ability to hear. I recently went to get a hearing test because I was tired of not being able to hear my wife and kids very well.
Now when you are hearing, what are you using? There are several parts, but for simplicity I will lump them into two categories : outer ear and inner ear. The outer ear consists of the cartilage and skin that protrudes outward from your head and captures and funnels the sound into the inner ear. The inner ear consists of the ear drum, some small bones and small hairs. Our brain takes the sound that is brought into our ears and through our life experiences, we acknowledge it and label it as something that we know. I can hear my father cough in a crowed room and know that it is him, because that sound has registered with me and I have it stored. I know the sound of my wife’s voice, I have heard it enough, so I have an understanding of what it sounds like and I know it above all other voices. But to hear we only are using our ears.


ˈlisən – verb [ no obj. ]
Give one’s attention to a sound.
Now to listen, we must give attention to a sound. This is where some effort must come into play! It is one thing to hear, buy another thing to listen. Listening requires more than the inner and outer ear,. Listening requires the ears, your attention, thought and patience. Many times we do not listen, but act as though we really are. We show signs of attention and patience, yet our thoughts are millions of miles away. We are thinking about the game last night, what is needed around the house, our work schedule for tomorrow or something else that we deem more important at the moment. To listen we must stop, focus on the person talking and fully engage into the conversation with them. Listen to their inflection, tone, and feeling in their words. Also, it requires patience to just sit and listen. Notice I said nothing about trying to fix the problem, just listen. If they want you to fix something, the person will tell you. So simply listen.

This is something that I struggle with in my house many times. Yet it is something that we as men need to do more often for our family. This is even more so when it comes to listening to the words of God when He speaks to us. So dads, take the time to listen to your family, and hear what is being said.

Till next time,
I’m just a Husband of a Homeschooling Mom,
Steve Blackston