New York City 306 199x300 FATHERHOOD:  AM I REALLY LISTENING?I’ve had many jobs during my 56 years.  I worked at a gas station , a fast food restaurant, a wallpaper manufacturer and even a banana company.  The one job that I think had the most influence on me was when I was a commissioned salesman.  This is not to say that I was the greatest salesman because I wasn’t.  The skills that I learned  while doing this job really helped me to become the person I am today.

Those skills included learning how to listen and watching body language.  How many times have we heard the phrase ” They really mean yes even though they’re saying no”.  As a salesman you learn by watching body language what a person wants to do.  Some times they are saying no and they really mean it.  Sometimes the body language is saying ” I’m not convinced.  Convince me”.

How does this relate to being a dad?  There are many times when I’ve talked to my kids and it seemed like I was talking to a wall.  This can be very frustrating.  But was I really listening?  Did my kids have another issue? If my kids were one of my customers, I should sense that maybe today is not the right time for this topic.  I should give them my card and encourage them to come back at another time when they may be more receptive to my ideas (or sales pitch).  I should never close the door.

I’ve learned over the years that by really listening, I may find out that what I want to sell may not be what they need.  I’ve also learned to  encourage them to talk about themselves.  Now sometimes what my kids have to say is not what I want to hear.  I want to sell them item A, but they want to buy item B.  When I move my ego out of the way, I understand that a sale is still a sale.  Item A may bring me greater satisfaction and even a bigger commission but will they come back to me for their next purchase.  Item B is what they really want. ( I must include a disclaimer.  I’m not talking about those crazy things kids want or think they need. I’m talking about those reasonable things.  I want them to be a doctor but they want to be an artist.  I want them to be a pro basketball player but they like bowling much better.  Understand?)  Will they say “He really didn’t listen to me, so I’ll never go back to him again”.

I don’t want my kids to go anywhere else to be heard. I need them to come to me with all their issues.  The good and the bad.  They should never feel that I would bait and switch them.

I love being a dad!

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