Friday 15 April 2011

I DO listen - the NHS, Lansley and my children

After a pleasant walk around Moseley Bog and Sarehole Mill, I was crossing the road with all three children...or I thought I was.

Steve Bell (Guardian) on Lansley's listening exercise
Guardian Comment Cartoon
When I looked back Jago was holding the camcorder up recording the rest of the family crossing.  I shouted at him from the middle of the road, putting us all in danger of being run over.  It was a bit unfair, because it was my fault I hadn't noticed Jago had let go of the pushchair.

Having crossed Wake Green Road fairly safely, we had a long discussion about importance of listening, again.  Put me in mind of Mr Lansley - I'll come back to that.   Listening is something that comes up a fair bit in our house.  I remember when Arthur was in Reception, his teacher had us check his hearing because she was concerned about his hearing.  There was nothing wrong - far from it.  Our children all seem to have an incredible ability to concentrate, to the exclusion of everything else.  Also they are all well adjusted and confident and believe in their own abilities.  So much so, it can be hard to discuss things with them sometimes.  Jago's response was, 'I did hear you, I just wanted to make a film.'  

Discussion continued, 'sometimes you need to listen to what other people are saying':

'I do listen, I just know better.'

Sometimes he does, it's true.  But if we either don't listen, or express ourselves (talk) then it all breaks down.  I guess I'm hitting on something Winston talks about on 'Child of our tiime' (and Winnicott 1964, 'The Child, the family, and the outside world') - Maybe Jago is still developing his ability to empathise.

So what's going on with Mr Lansley and the nurses?  What kind of 'listening' is happening?  I found Dr Nadig's listening categories on the net helpful.  Is it combative, passive, or reflective listening?  And who's doing what? Below is rough outline of who said what:

Loads of listening, talking, but all the evidence points to a breakdown in understanding.  What Mr Lansley is saying to the nurses is:

'I DO listen.  I just know better.'

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