Habit 5

Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

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Seek First to Understand means to listen to how other people feel before sharing your thoughts. This is one of the hardest habits to master, but it's also one of the most important. A wise person once said that you have 2 ears, but only 1 mouth for a reason. You should use your ears more often. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in getting our point across, that we completely ignore the other person.
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  • Listen with your eyes, ears, and heart. -Try to make eye contact when someone is talking to show them that you're paying attention. Use your ears to hear what they have to say and how they feel. Lastly, use your heart to empathize with them and care about what they are sharing with you.
  • Repeat back what you hear. -To make sure you really understand, repeat what the other person said.
  • Help friends when you see them having a misunderstanding. -Help them take turns explaining their sides of the story. Remind the other person that it is not their turn to talk yet. After they listen to the other person, they'll get their chance to share their feelings. When that time comes, make sure the one who already shared listens to other as well.
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Journal Writing Ideas:

  1. What are some examples of a good listener? Write at least 5 sentences telling what you think it means to be a good listener. Share your examples with a partner to see how many examples you have that are alike and different.
  2. Who do you know that is a very good listener? It might be a family member or someone at school. Write about this person and tell why you feel he/she is a good listener.
  3. When your classmates come into the room every morning, your teacher is there to greet them with a smile. Sometimes a student might come into the room sad or really quiet because they are having a bad morning. Think of some things you could do to help a student in your class that comes to school unhappy feel better. You could be the person to help turn their day into a happy one.
  4. Why is it important to listen to your teacher every day? Write down some things that your teacher tells students that are important. What could happen if a student didn’t listen in class? You can give examples in different subject areas like Math, Reading, Writing, Science, Social Studies, and in your Specials.
  5. Why is listening to others so important? Write at least 3-4 ways that being a good listener can help you be a happy kid and help others be happy, too.

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Books to Reinforce Habit 5: Listen Before You Talk

Corduroy – Don Freeman,

Frog and Toad are Friends – Arnold Lobel,

Roses are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink – Diane DeGroat,

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears – Vera Aardema,

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs – Jan Scieszka,

Miss Nelson is Missing – Harry Allard,

Hey Little Ant – Phillip and Hannah Hoose

Rules - Cynthia Lord,

Veronica Knows Best - Nancy Robinson

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