I honestly think this might be the most irritating sentence in the English language. I just love when I ask my children to do something and they answer, “I know.” Because the reality is that they must NOT know, because they very rarely complete the task in the way I have asked! I think my irritation with my children comes from them not taking the time to listen and slow down and really learn how to do a job. They want to take a short-cut by saying, “I know,” and finish the task as quickly as possible.
No offense to any of my piano students who might be reading this, but it is frustrating to hear it from you too. The whole reason I am there doing lessons is that you do not know it yet. And that is okay. There are very few of us on this planet who can do anything perfectly the first time.
I think all of us need to be very cautious in how we use this sentence. If I am listening to a friend pour her heart out about a difficult circumstance and I just answer, “I know,” I can make her feel completely unheard. The reality is that I don’t know exactly how she feels about what she is going through. Even if I have experienced something similar in my life, I am a different person with a different point of view and different feelings. It is crucially important when we are listening to others that we just listen!
Being a good listener is a wonderful gift we can give others. As much as it is important that my children fully listen to me, it is equally important that I listen to them. My children all have a huge need to be heard and love telling me, (in detail) about things they are interested in.
There are a lot of people in the world that need someone to talk to. In our rushed, busy lives it can be difficult to slow down and listen. However, maybe the next time we are listening to someone and we are tempted to nod and say, “I know,” maybe we should say a quick prayer for love and patience and instead say, “tell me more.”
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19