Listening is a form of kindness

16th June 2022

WORDLE 06-2022

 

Recently I was introduced to Wordle. It’s a game that I play on my tablet. I have six attempts to guess a five-letter word, with feedback given for each guess. I usually get to the answer by the sixth attempt but occasionally I get completely stuck. With each wrong guess my chances reduce, and I become more and more anxious. Eventually, every creative thought deserts me and I simply can’t think of any reasonable solution!
 
What happens in Wordle can also happen in life. When I was a headteacher, there were occasional times of great stress, usually centred around OFSTED inspections, staff sicknesses and budget cuts - usually all coming at once! Sometimes, I just couldn’t see beyond the problems. Even someone’s simple request to arrange a class trip would leave me in a cold sweat and unable to make any decision
 
Being stuck in difficult circumstances, without the ability to find a solution, is a frightening place to be. Sadly, it is an experience shared by millions of people in this country, who are struggling to pay bills and feed their children. The prospect of a cold, dark winter is daunting
 
The government’s Food Standards Agency has published research showing that the cost of food is now a major future concern for three out of four (76%) UK consumers (UK Public's Interests, Needs and Concerns Around Food project) and the number of people using a food bank or food charity has grown from around one in ten in March 2021 (9%), to nearly one in six in March 2022 (15%). More than one in five (22%, in March 2022) say they skipped a meal or cut down the size of meals because they did not have enough money to buy food (Consumer Insights Tracker)
 
When I am stuck, whether with Wordle, work or other worries, I have discovered that there are a few things that help. The first is having someone to explain my problem to – in my case this has often been my wife. Next, is to know that I am being listened to and that the other person cares – someone who uses active listening skills.  Finally, I need time. Usually, with these components, I can find a solution that works for me
 
It has been said that listening is one of the loudest forms of kindness. In the book of James, Jesus’ brother told his followers to be ‘quick to listen and slow to speak’. We cannot change the food or fuel crisis, but by listening, we may be able to help people find solutions that work for them

Andrew 
 


 
ANDREW FRERE-SMITHAndrew Frere-Smith
Development Worker
Imagine Norfolk Together
 

photos courtesy of Imagine Norfolk Together