Hearing vs Listening

I just finished a wonderful article in the Sunday Review section of the NY Times: The Science and Art Of Listening. Seth Horowitz makes the simple yet profound point, “listening is a skill that we’re in danger of losing in a world of digital distraction and information overload.” He goes on to better define that listening is something that is truly challenging (and a real skill that we humans develop – or not – over our lifetime) while hearing happens automatically and acts as our first line of defense in our environment, in other words we have a ten times greater chance of hearing a warning before we see it. Another way to say this is that when our children seem to ignore us as we advise them to put on a warmer jacket, we ought to be saying ‘did you listen to me’ rather than ‘did you hear me.’