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  • Writer's picturewisebird

Wisebirds listen to their young

One of my lasting impressions from the painting along with Sky Arts during the summer, was the young talent that emerged from it. The judges too were bowled over by it, and it became a weekly feature to showcase the top 3 youth entries.

But the current lack of social interaction and interruption to their studies is hitting our younger generations hard. It has been my absolute privilege to work with many of them during the pandemic to help them find their own answers to addressing their particular situations, whether it be: adapting to working remotely from their school / university; dealing with isolation; staying motivated and on track; keeping calm; or believing in themselves and their plans for the future.

Their resilience is an example for us all to follow, and on this, World Mental Health Day, I want to highlight how the way we respond to their requests for guidance can make a difference.

Think for a moment about what you do when those around you are stuck. How often do you really listen? And how often do you give advice instead?

It's a natural reaction, and I'm still working on it with my own children and other people in general.

Because what we want to do - with the best intentions - is share our experiences and let them know what's worked for us. But what we forget is that other people are not us. That we all see the world through different lenses - we are the product of what has gone before. So what works for one person, may not work for another.

If instead we can show our young people that we are listening- reflect back what they have said to let them hear it again- it allows them the space to process their thoughts, encourages them to open up more and helps them move forward.

It's not easy, but the rewards for them and indeed for your relationship with them can be transformational.

And this can bring results in any relationship - at home or at work - where we want to get along better.

So, next time you feel yourself about to tell someone what you think they should do, try showing them you are listening instead - and notice the difference it makes.

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