Five Minute Friday: Listen


This world is crazy loud, isn’t it?

I feel like I’m losing the ability to listen well. Or maybe I should say the art listening well. Because it is an art form. A gift to our audience. A well-honed ability to put aside our own agendas and endless to-do lists and status updates to hear what our child, our friend, our spouse is really saying.

Most days I feel like the guy in this photo: the sensory input is truly overwhelming. Podcasts, political ads everywhere I look, my favorite morning drive-time radio show, the top 30 country countdown I listen to faithfully every weekend. Here’s the thing that troubles me most: I’ve crammed all of that noise into my world and now I’m aggravated that it’s so stinkin’ loud in here.

Recently I’ve delved into the world of audiobooks. Not just because I’m an author and that’s an audience I want to reach, but because I want to learn to hear a story again. To truly get lost in it and experience the journey of the characters like I once did as a child who listened while my grownups read to me.

Do you know how hard it is to train your brain to listen well? It’s painful. I want to fold a load of laundry, color a picture, check my email, send a text … all while the narrator is presenting a chapter. It’s crazy how addicted I am to doing seventeen things at once.

Yesterday two of our three kids had written stories they desperately wanted to share with us RIGHT when they got home from school. I wanted to unpack the remnants from their lunchboxes, put the folded laundry away, remind them to start their homework…but a tiny voice inside me whispered, “This is important. Right now.”

Guess what? My budding storytellers had crafted two wonderful pieces. One son stayed up past his bedtime writing his last paragraph just so he could read it to me.

And I listened. Sat right there on the floor in his bedroom and savored every word. It’s a great story. I think he’s on to something. So grateful he wanted to share it with me.

It’s Five Minute Friday time once again. If you have a post you’d like to share about today’s prompt LISTEN you can link up here.

In just two short weeks, October will be here. Do you know what that means? 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes kicks off for the third straight year. Consider this your invitation to join this amazing community for a solid month of writing, making new friends, and reading wonderful posts. Curious? More details here + an opportunity to do a trial run post this Tuesday, 9/20. C’mon. Do it. You’ll love every minute, I promise.


Photo credit: Thomas Lefebvre via Unsplash


  1. Christina Hubbard:

    Hi, Heidi, thanks for sharing the link-ups with your readers! I love that photo (looks like Union Station here in Kansas City) as well as how you paused to listen to your kids. That is presence and real living. Can’t wait to read what you write for the challenge!


    • Heidi:

      Thanks so much, Christina! Have a great weekend.


  2. Ashley Larkin:

    Heidi, really enjoyed reading your thoughts today. I agree….listening is becoming a lost art. I, too, want to do several things while I listen, but that’s not the same as true, attentive listening. That — the gift of presence — is something altogether different. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement to press into true listening, especially to my husband and three daughters. Linked up next to you in the #36 spot this week. Bless you!


    • Heidi:

      Hi, Ashley. Thank you for stopping by. Yes, learning to be fully present and not half-distracted is a hard concept for me to grasp lately. Glad to hear I’m not alone on this journey. Take care.


  3. Emma Hughes:

    How exciting that your kids are picking up your passions and making them their own! I love the idea of my kids writing their own stories but I’ll have to wait for them to learn to read and write properly first :p Loved reading your piece and identify with the need to do 17 things while listening… at least it makes the 17 things feel less like a chore?


    • Heidi:

      Hi Emma! Thanks for reading my post. It’s fun to see our little ones learn to read and write, too. Blessings!


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