Last night I met a Saudi man for dinner.
He’s a quiet family man with a wife and three kids, and no desire to leave Saudi Arabia even for a vacation.
In fact he hasn’t even visited Bahrain, the country that is just a few kilometres from Dammam, where we both live.
Nevertheless the world, in the form of me the New Zealander, has come to visit him.
Given my current level of Arabic (nearly non-existent), English was our shared language.
Fortunately his English was good enough for a real cultural meeting.
I was really affected by his simple humanity, and most especially by his soft listening.
Certainly we both asked many questions about each other, but more importantly we both really listened.
This was the powerful effect he had on me.
So this is my question: how well do we each really listen?
How much do we open ourselves to the other’s words, the way they speak, the pauses between words, and to the person behind the words?
The world and especially the media is full of talkers, but what about the listeners?
Do we listen to the listeners?
Thankyou, Farhan, for a lovely evening!