A few years ago I took a hike with my youngest. My oldest was at sleepaway camp and my SO was working. So I grabbed my little gamer and said enough screens let’s go for a long walk and we did.
We got a bit lost and went a smidgen longer than I intended but what I remember most from that walk was that for 2.5 hours that child talked about Minecraft – non, stop. Minecraft was what they were obsessing over at the time because that is how this child works, unhealthy obsession followed by disinterest followed by revival of unhealthy obsession. My head was swimming in it when we got back. The funny thing is this child took awhile to talk but when they did, holy hell they never stopped.
What brings this memory up was that on our 5 mile hike over the weekend I got another lesson this time in their on again off again love affair with Pokemon. I heard it all. The difference this time was I felt no guilt in the fact that I can’t recite back even one fact they told me. I no longer carry the young mom guilt that I have to validate and praise and elevate every single thing my kids say. In fact, I told my child ‘I think you know I won’t remember most of this but if you need to put these words out into the universe I’ll smile and nod’. They laughed and said ‘I know mom that’s why you’re the best’.
Often that’s all any of us need or want, an ear, sympathetic, un-judging, available and willing to listen. I’m guilty of problem solving and I annoy the shit out of many with this trait. It’s something I work at stopping because when someone is unloading a burden they don’t necessarily need a problem solver. Not every problem needs solving. Some just need to be heard. Those words need to be sent out to the universe and let go from whoever is saying them.
And it’s on 5 mile hikes where I get to hear about every Pokeman and their evolution that I’m reminded listening is an underrated skill. It’s the skill of the talented writer and the successful business person. It is powerful. Listen. Don’t act. Don’t solve. Don’t do. Just hear the words.
Whether you commit them to memory is another matter but my guess is you’re wise enough to know what to retain and what to let go. Just don’t ever forget that Poppolio is a water Pokémon that evolves into Brionne starting at level 17, which evolves into Primarina starting at level 34.
Well I guess I remembered more of that lecture than I thought.