I learned something new and important while home teaching
this week. My home teaching companion is a very well known college professor with a lot of experience dealing with people, and as we drove up and parked
at our appointment, he said to me, "Listen, and let him talk".
He also said that good home teaching is helping people and being their
friend, and that just does not work if the home teacher is consumed by
the "teacher" role, and just talks and talks, not giving the person taught
the opportunity to express himself or discuss various issues that might
be important. I realised that in past visits I had tended to behave in
the traditional "teacher" role - I had my lesson prepared, had my scriptures,
my Ensign, and I went in to TEACH! I ended up being very gung-ho
about teaching, went at it with gusto, and ended up doing most of the talking
(like in a classroom situation), and there wasn't much meaningful interaction.
I was getting home teaching done, but I don't really know how much I was
able to help. So this week, as I got out of the car, I realised what
I had been doing wrong and decided not to follow the lesson I had planned.
I left my Ensign and scriptures in my bag, and decided to just listen and
let Jim talk.
After letting us in, Jim expected me to do my usual
thing, except we said , "Let's talk. We just want to find out what's going
on in your life and see if we can help in any way". So after a bit
of small talk, Jim really opened up. I guess nobody had ever offered to
listen to him about his worries and concerns in a friendly and non-judgmental
manner, so we ended up spending a lot of time with him that evening...listening.
It helped us as the Home Teachers too, giving us the opportunity to really
get to know Jim and what his concerns were. I think it is really
important that home teachers cultivate the ability to listen because it
lets us learn a lot about the people we are teaching, which in turn allow
us to be better friends and better help them. It is also important because
it lets the teachee know that the Home Teachers really care about
him or her instead of being just another statistic. So my humble advice
to all the Brethren is, please LISTEN.