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Robin Carlo: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Sometimes listening is very hard work; especially when there are multiple voices vying for my attention. 

Two steps forward, one step back. Sometimes listening is very hard work; especially when there are multiple voices vying for my attention. 

Today was a perfect example. I was in a meeting with a student’s mother at 3:15. I was  feeling a bit anxious as the meeting had already run a bit longer than I’d anticipated and I was due to participate in a conference call at 3:30. In spite of this, I was determined to listen attentively and was actually doing a fairly good job when my cell phone rang. Not my work cell phone, which would have signaled the start of the conference call, but my personal cell phone, which was not supposed to ring until after 4:30. 

My husband was at the hospital for one of those over-50 preventative procedures that necessitates a ride home. However, the procedure wasn’t scheduled until 3:00 so I had assured him I’d be able pick to him up. Thankfully, the parent realized that she too was running late and we were able to quickly summarize our decisions and end the meeting. That solved her problem. Mine was a bit more complicated as I now had to leave immediately to pick up Ken but was scheduled for the conference call in 10 minutes. 

Off I went muttering a prayer of thanks for hands-free calling and hoping I had listened attentively to the nurse when she gave me the directions to the pick-up spot. I had not, which led to the kind of problem that led me to make my resolution in the first place. I had to drive around the hospital several times before I found the right door while listening very inattentively to my colleagues discuss the candidate we had interviewed earlier in the day for a new position. Ken came out the door accompanied by a nurse—a nurse who just happened to be the mom of a former student and who I am sure was expecting a much more animated greeting than she received from me. (I simply held up the cell phone, gave her an I’m-sorry-but-I’m-on-a-call-look, and waved.)

The good news? I guess the good news is that I am glad I am working on this and grateful for all I am learning. Along with avoiding email when talking on the phone, and avoiding talking on the phone when making dinner, I think I need to be careful not to over-schedule. Also, while I was typing this blog my son came in to ask me about plans for his upcoming birthday and I did not try to type and talk.  

Excuse me now while I go and give him my undivided attention! Thanks for your prayers; as you can see I really need them!

—Robin Carlo



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