My first thoughts on this topic are that in general, people are not good listeners. I remember hearing somewhere that most people spend their listening time thinking of how they will respond to the person talking. They are just waiting, sometimes impatiently, for their turn to talk. I think I've been guilty of this at times. But I have been told I'm a good listener too, so I won't despair too much.
I was actually thinking today about therapists, and how they listen. One time I did a survey for a woman who was working on her doctoral degree for family therapy. (I don't know the fancy doctorate name for that) She not only took notes on everything I said, but paid attention to everything I did. At one point she asked me an extremely personal question. I inadvertently covered my mouth with my hand. I noticed her quickly jot that detail on her notepad. I did share my thoughts with her, and didn't hold back, but it made me think more about what I was doing with my hands from then on. But therapists in general listen to everything said, even if it is just in passing. I think the idea behind it is that people say what is bothering them, even if they say it accidentally.
Most of us consciously formulate what we want to say. But sometimes our subconscious just needs to get something off it's chest, and we blurt something out. Therapists take note, and then purposefully ask about that detail.
I have church duties that often put me in a position of needing to listen to the plight of others. I think I could learn something from the therapists. If I can really listen to everything that is said, even when it's tiring, I think I can be of more help to the people with whom I work. But I think I could take this a step further, and do the same with my family members, especially my children.
Before I end this note, I wanted to mention one more thing about listening when it comes to listening to boys. I can't remember where I learned this, but a psychologist said that if you want boys to talk to you, then you should do something active with them. For example, have them help you wash the car. Boys are more comfortable talking when they are actively doing something. I have found this to be true, and really enjoy when I can get my boys to talk!