“It Will Become Their Own Precious Procedure”

When you are with two or more people, you will arrange time (using your counseling skills) so that each of them gets a turn being listened to without interruption.

If you’re in a carpool on the way to work, when the fourth person in the carpool arrives you say, “Did you have any dreams last night, Ann?” She may say, “That’s strange you should ask,” and begin to tell. If Tony in the front seat interrupts and says something sarcastic, you say, “Shush [be quiet], Tony, I want to hear this.” You move to see that she gets attention without interruption. As she tells her dream, Tony may come up with [think of] three more interruptions, and you may have to say, “Keep quiet, my friend. I want to hear this. You’ll get your turn,” or whatever is appropriate to say to Tony. When Ann is through, you say, “All right, Tony, what was your dream?” He may not tell a dream, but he’ll hand out [share] something that he wants to be listened to about.

After three or four times like this, your intervention will not be necessary. They will have experienced the tremendous worth of being listened to without interruption and they will enforce it themselves; but you will have to start.

Whenever you’re with a person, you will be fully human, will be interested in the person, act as a model, and give the person attention to the extent that the situation permits.

Whenever you’re with two or more people and you’re not having to keep an assembly line at Chrysler [an automobile manufacturer] going or something preoccupying like that, you will be organizing a support-group atmosphere. You will do this at the coffee break, in the carpool, on any social occasion. Why do people go out on a social occasion? In the extreme hope that somebody will organize a situation in which they can be paid attention to without interruption. That’s what it’s all about. If you’ll manage things so this happens a few times, it will become their own precious procedure.

Harvey Jackins

From pages 266 to 267 of “Graduation Day,” in The Longer View

(Present Time 193, October 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00