Listening to Students
Think back to your college years -- what significant pressures, fears and challenges did you face? Today's students face most of those plus many more. As faculty members, we understand their problems. At least we think we do.
Students today often feel like they are all alone in facing these challenges. Some would like to share their concerns with an adult who is sympathetic to their situation.
As we are open to God's leading, He provides opportunities for us to be that listening ear in our classrooms and hallways, labs and offices. Students can tell when someone is genuinely interested in them, and they appreciate it even if they don't always express it.
Asking a few simple questions and then taking time to listen can open up many opportunities for you. As you gain a student's confidence, they will often be interested to hear you reflect on your own experiences and how you've learned to handle such pressures.
Two warnings: First, if a student is facing a problem that requires professional help, don't hesitate to encourage them to pursue it. The school's counseling center can be a good place to start.
Second, it takes energy and time to listen. But remember -- only God, His Word and people last for eternity. Through caring for others, you invest a bit of your energy and time in those things that promise life's greatest returns.
Scripture: Luke 19:3-5 - "Zaccheus ... was trying to see who Jesus was, and he was unable because of the crowd ... And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, 'Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.'"
Action Point: Be willing to have an open ear for students facing tough problems. They just want to know we care. Perhaps set a goal of asking one or two students out to lunch each month to hear from them. [Make it a public place to avoid any implications of impropriety.]
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