I’ve been trying to find someone to do a listening partnership with me. I’ve reached out to a few friends. At this point they are interested in a group listening partnership rather than one-on-one. Probably just until they better understand what it is all about. Does anyone have any thoughts about this and perhaps some tips on how to make it successful? Note: I have never had a listening partnership with anyone myself.
Kudos to you, good mama for reaching out for Listening Partnerships. It can be tricky doing Listening Partnerships with friends. Often there are habits of talking, socializing, sharing experiences and even giving advice that can get in the way of the true power of Listening Time.
But it can be done, if everyone is willing to follow the guidelines. In fact, listening in a group can be even more powerful. When one person is sharing, they have the attention and good thoughts of everyone in the room.
Here are the guidelines that you can share with your group.
Everyone has to agree to these guidelines – especially the part about not giving advice and not referring to anything that anyone shares. It’s also best if you get together ONLY to do Listening Time. Save the socializing for another day/time. It’s all too easy for someone to slip and refer to something someone said or share some advice, if you socialize before or after you do Listening Time.
One added benefit of doing a group Listening Time is that you can provide your own childcare, if you take turns rotating in and out of your circle in order to watch the kids.
My note of caution would be that if your friends are coming together to chit-chat, you might get some relief by gabbing about your tension. But you might also get some well-intended advice and opinions that can add to that underlying feeling we all have, of not being enough. Real healing can take place when there is safety and sacredness to your Listening Time.
For more great information about Listening Partnerships, you can watch Patty in the Resource Center and in your weekly archives.
So… I’ve tried to tell you the good and not so good about doing Listening Time in a group. Before I refer you to places and people for one-on-one LPs, let me make one more suggestion about your friends. You might want to gather for a Study Group. You can incorporate Listening Time into your discussion group, and all the same guidelines of not referring and not giving advice apply. So, you would have to be very careful in your discussion to NOT refer to what someone said in Listening Time. But, a Study group is a wonderful way to create community with like-minded parents who can support each other in the Hand in Hand approach.
Here is a Study Group guide
If your friends all have our book LISTEN, you can discuss the book.
Now… to find several one-on-one Listening Partners, you may have to be willing to connect via phone or skype. Skype is almost as good as in person – you can see them, but not feel them. And you’ll be surprised by the amount of safety you can create via phone just by ‘feeling’ someone’s warm voice. Many parents have found that connecting with a stranger – with whom they may have nothing in common – can be easier than partnering with friends. You can presume that this stranger thinks well of you, and you don’t have to worry about seeing them in at preschool pickup. You don’t have those long-standing habits of chit-chatting and giving advice, so you can really keep your time together safe and sacred.
If you’d like to reach out, then as you can see above (the response from sfnanook) this discussion board is a great place to post you are looking. We also have a Facebook group just for the Parenting Club. If you are not a member there, I can add you if you give me the email address associated with your FB account. Then there is a FB Listening Partnership group and a larger Parent Support FB group – both are great places to post your time zone, availability and how you can connect (skype, phone, etc)
Please let me know how it goes, what you decide and if you’d like our support in getting you into some of our FB groups to find an LP.
You are such a brave, smart Mama! Your friends are lucky to have you doing such good thinking and questioning!
Peace & Smiles,
Hand in Hand Certified Instructor
Conscious Child-raising Creating Cooperation and Peace
Follow me on facebook: Parenting by Connection with Kathy
“If we are to teach real peace in the world, we shall have to begin with children” – Gandhi
Thanks, Kathy for the advice on the group listening.