Ethics: How to Listen in a World that Doesn’t Listen

When I was young, my father told me that I would never understand the news or current events by reading the newspaper. He told me I could only understand it from the lens and natural bias of one individual, the author. He explained that no matter how open minded the author is, their background and experiences have a natural influence, intended or not. This is one part of understanding ethics and how to listen in a world that doesn’t listen.

Do the Work

He went on to strongly suggest that I read at least two newspapers, suggesting US News and World Report, Newsweek, and Scientific America. He also suggested that I alternate the news channels I watched at night. Now come on! I was in high school when he told me this. How was I ever going to have time to read all that, do my homework, finish my chores and still go to the dance (code for the party at the bay) Friday night?

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When I grew up from my teenage years and worked in a dental office, we had a subject of the day. All of our patients were well versed in this and would ask as they arrived, “What current event are we discussing today?” Fifteen patients would discuss current events, from their perspective. I confess, I still was not reading all the publications my father suggested, but through my patients, I heard many unique views of current topics, not from journalists but from the people who read their words. I was learning ethical responsibilities and how to listen without even realizing it. My father’s lessons were beginning to make sense.

Ethics: How to Listen Instead of Convince

This helped me to understand and consider thoughts and opinions I never would have within my own restricted aperture. As a continuing education provider, I begin my ethics classes explaining that we are not gathering to argue and convince others to agree with us. We are gathered to discuss ethical challenges, listen with open ears and open hearts, to consider varied view points and then retain our original opinion, alter some of it based on new information or change that opinion completely. Or simply admit, “I never thought of it that way.” As a result, we usually come to areas of common ground, even if they are approached with different methods.

yoga class listening to instructor
Active listening in progress.

We do not have to solve all ethical dilemmas, but we can begin where we agree, advance our communication skills, then start to build the foundation necessary to approach more difficult solutions. Years later, in the modern world of technology, I have finally learned to follow my father’s leadership.

Gathering Information in the Digital Age

It is much easier and quicker to collect information now, for better or worse. I am watching the DNC and the RNC. I watch CNN, Fox and MSNBC. I read the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, research published by the National Institutes of Health and the International Journal of Yoga Therapy.

It is rare that I will repost someone else’s list or narrative of what they believe. Not because I do or do not believe what they say, but because it involves very little thought, comprehension or commitment to authentically share my beliefs gained from listening to multiple views and looking from many vantage points, with an open mind and an open heart.

There is no single scenic overlook, no single view of any landscape, no single correct course of action. But there is a clear and present representation of the inability to have a conversation rather than cast a stone, to listen rather than speak, to think rather than react, to have the hard conversation rather than repost a list of ideas that we did not create from our own experiences and education.

Take the time to go further than the headlines.

A closed mind causes separation, not opposing opinions. I respect that we may not agree, but please do not stop at one scenic overlook and believe you have seen all the differing landscapes.

Stop at many overlooks, listen to many conversations, and read at least two newspapers. Father knows best.

If you or your company are interested in hiring INH to teach your ethics class either as a business or personal development course or for specific continuing education needs, see below for more detailed information, and email Theresa Macy, Education Guru and Ethics Educator directly at

She will provide you with an Ethics Course that meets your requirements, yet one that you have never experienced prior. Her style will keep you engaged, invigorated and excited about this much needed topic in today’s heated, digital, one-sided world. You need her insight.

Fireside Ethics Listening around the fire
Fireside Ethics Class

Ethics Course Information

This professional communication and ethics course cultivates a greater awareness of intention, presence, and focus. Attention at the quiet and still levels of the mind cultivates an inner perceptual awareness and enhances relaxed focus and sensorial listening. Through increased self-knowledge attain a greater understanding of intuitive signals when ethical conflicts arise and throughout the resolution process.

Research-based mindfulness tools such as meditation, breath awareness, and somatic movement have been shown to positively affect autonomic physiological processes. Awareness of the qualities of contact, presence, mindfulness, and self-awareness leads to a transformative care-giver/care-receiver relationship. Increased engagement with the present moment benefits you and the care-receivers you work with.

Learning Outcomes and Objectives

  • Learner will improve listening and communication skills
  • Learner will cultivate an awareness of their personal virtues and values through quiet reflection
  • Learner will demonstrate mindfulness practices to positively effect autonomic physiological processes as a tool to calmly identify potential ethical dilemmas
  • Learner will cultivate life skills to enhance self-control, critical thinking, conflict resolution and compassionate action
  • Learner will demonstrate the use of mindfulness tools to reduce reactivity
  • Learner will incorporate the use of mindfulness communication practices as a tool when hands-on techniques elicit emotional responses from care receives

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