How to Respond to a Someone in a Crisis: A Dad who Understands the Gift of Listening

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If you ever wanted to see love, empathy, compassion during a crisis, excellent listening skills, support, encouragement wrapped up in one package without ever having to take a class or read a book, I think I found it right here in this short video.  This video encapsulates what so many books try to teach about listening.  Save yourself the money and enjoy.  It’s all right here in this short video.

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The following video delighted my soul the last couple of days.  It showed up on my Facebook newsfeed. I loved it and couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I scrounged around looking for it and found it on YouTube, so I’m glad to be able to share it with you here if you haven’t already seen it.

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I cannot get enough of this video.  I think I have watched it a few times now.  Being a lover of music and cute kids, that alone would have sucked me in, but there is something really special about this video that just grabbed hold of me and won’t let me go.

Here is the summary on YouTube:

She thought she kept hearing fireworks and couldn’t sleep, so we sang to keep her mind preoccupied. In the end, nothing competes with fireworks.

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How to Truly Listen, Show Love and Compassion

Ok, so we’ve got this way cool dad who is up late at night with his child because she couldn’t sleep.  I’m guessing she may have been frightened or worried, or just disturbed by noises she was hearing – real or imagined – but the sweet child could not sleep.

So, in comes dad to soothe his anxious daughter.  He knows her.  He loves her.  He tries to get her mind on something she can connect with  – something they have shared together – something that instantly gives her peace, comfort – the music that they have obviously done many times before.  It is very evident that this is nothing new for her – they have rehearsed this, at the age of 4, she has learned how to sing in 2-part harmony (this choir mom is smiling).  He has invested in a relationship with his child and it is evident in this video that they are able to read each other like a book.

Ok, so dad starts playing on the ukelele and his sweet young thing then stops her dad multiple times during the song as her mind drifts back to the distraction of fireworks.  Dad allows her to do this.  He doesn’t tell her it’s nothing, he doesn’t tell her to quit thinking about it.  Within a 30-second span she has interrupted the song at least 3 or 4 times with concern about the fireworks.

Silence is Golden

One of those times, she has hushed her father, he stops playing, and there is dead silence for about 7 or 8 seconds as they both listen . . . . to silence . . . . . .  Notice that his face mirrors hers in what she is feeling, regardless of the fact that he is not afraid of the fireworks.  He stooped down to her level emotionally.  What humility!    Then  then dad starts to sing and play again and she joins in – – she’s okay with her daddy leading.

It’s like a gentle tug-of-war with who gets to lead. Can you imagine, a big man allowing his little girl lead him?  It’s not just that, he’s allowing his little girl to feel.

Ok, then we get to a fun part for me as a musician.  At the 1:04 mark on the video, this little 4-yr old thang wants more than just the melody line and so we can hear her tell her dad to sing a specific part where they echo each other.  I love it.   She does a great job holding down her own vocal part while her dad sings another vocal part.  Folks, if you have never sung harmonies or rounds, this is not an easy task to do without other people helping.  Dad has spent much time invested in his precious daughter.

Her ability to do this vocal part alone also speaks loud to me.  She’s feeling confident enough to sing/stand/be alone at this moment even with other negative things are going on around her.  Beautiful!

From the 1:29 mark, I am fascinated at dad and how he smiles when he hears her voice, how he looks intently at her while she is singing.  Oh, to have a father’s eyes look so lovingly at a daughter.     :::it’s a good thing I’m not wearing mascara, I’m losing it::::

Ok, at 1:59, after some fantastic singing, she hears something again, “what’s that sound?” Dad pauses with her, listens, but then takes the lead and starts singing again. She feels safe. At the end, she really hams it up and we hear her full voice with a little stage vibrato thrown in for good measure.

This video represents so much to me.  It encourages me to really know my kids in an intimate way.  It also represents love, grace, and the importance of meaningful relationships in good times and in bad.  This dad is my hero.

I imagine Jesus would be like this.  And I also imagine that this is the very best way to deal with people in a crisis:  to spend time with them as they process what is going on, to listen, to validate, to accept, to offer grace and hope.  Yes.  This is how I want to respond to people in a crisis.

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28 comments on “How to Respond to a Someone in a Crisis: A Dad who Understands the Gift of Listening

  1. That is so precious…….

    It is not something that even as adults we also hear fireworks of “abuse, worry about life, marital struggles, etc.” yet Jesus is ever the Shepherd. We are no different from the young ones.
    Psalms 23.

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  2. I tell you JA when I got out the “church” is when I started to see my own hypocrisy.
    I used to think my kids had to be little grownups. How in the world were they ever able to do that? I was hard, not always, but enough to put pressure. In turn, I would only be raising children to be the same- hard and hypocritical. Now seeing my own daughter and sons in the way Christ would see them (that does not mean that I do not get frustrated or yell at times- for flesh wins out sometimes) my relationship with them is growing and blossoming. My daughter is 19 now and not calloused, but enjoys a meaningful relationship with her father and I; instead of griping at her about the choices she makes we are now acknowledging her, exhort and encourage instead. What a difference!

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  3. I know, Faith – this video is so much more than just a dad and his child. It’s so powerful. It’s Jesus and His hurting sheep. It’s a godly pastor with a wounded church member. It’s a friend with a hurting friend.

    Going along w/your 2nd comment – – that reminds me of God’s mercies new each morning – – that I have found that our kids will look beyond our faults if we can reach out to them in honesty, vulnerability, and love. We can usually gain back what we lost for whatever reason.

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  4. You know the real sad thing (of course I am having to get use to a new way of life and am enjoying aspects of it) is that I and my family can never feel comfortable in the “church” setting again. I cry inside thinking about it too long.

    I doubt my own actions in leaving it at times and feel lonely; I could never go back to it though knowing that what we did was right. Still, the lost of physical community is hard; even though I was not ever fully accepted in it, the actual getting together is what was so addicting. This is why I think many put up with the abuse of a church because many don’t want to be alone.
    When I think of how many will stay in abuse just for the sake that they will not be alone the numbers would astound. This is one of the reasons the “church” will not change.

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  5. I was not abused per se JA but I was neglected by the church. I was not invited or accepted- this hurts still to this day.

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  6. Faith, I think the sense of community that you are feeling a loss for can be replicated outside of a institutional church building. I wonder if anyone here might have suggestions how that can be achieved? Amos? Gary? I know there are others, too.

    I think physical community is important. I’m glad you have brought this up, Faith.

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  7. Of course it hurts! It doesn’t really matter what word you use, it hurts. Interestingly, the legal court system would say that if you neglect your child, that is abuse. Of course there are varying levels, but still . . . is the emotional/spiritual impact the same? It’s probably pretty close.

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  8. Thanks JA- that really means a lot. My husband and I thought about having Bible study with young adults (when we move- we are about to move out of state; so we are in limbo). I have a burden for those young adults who might have felt alone and isolated themselves from family or church- whether thru abuse or abandonment. Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated!!

    I also know that I bear a responsibility to this being alone too; I allowed it to take over to the place where I became selfish and isolated. Even where my kids felt that too. I desperately want to serve- crying out to the Lord to do it!

    I am just bearing my soul out here. Really something I have not done in awhile (except with my best friend- which I am moving back to the same place where she is Yeh!).
    I guess this post hit me more than I realized JA- I am crying as I post.
    I really appreciate this blog- thanks 🙂

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  9. I guess I was just a wallflower on the wallpaper of the walls of “church”.
    No where to serve or give my talents. I would tell leaders in the church I wanted to serve in the college or youth- I was stuck in the nursery (everytime!). Nothing wrong with the nursery and when in emergency I would do it gladly; but was not my gift. This is when I just kind of gave up and became self-centered (my fault by the way).

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  10. Oh, Faith – what an honor and privilege it is to “listen” to your heart. I’m glad the post was meaningful to you and I pray that God will help you to sort through the thoughts and ideas you have had going in your head for some time (I know it’s been a while because I remember you bringing this up before.) You definitely have a burden for ministry and I’d love to see you get some clear answers on how to accomplish that.

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  11. Faith – I completely get that. It’s not totally your fault. You were wanting to be a help and serve. The problem was that they (church leaders) didn’t consider your giftedness. Imagine putting someone who doesn’t have the gift of music in music ministry. That’s absurd, but that’s what really happened with you. The leaders were not paying attention in putting gifted people where their gifts were. What a shame. That was a loss to the young people there. All it did for you was frustrate you.

    Numerous times I’ve had people tell me I should be in the nursery because I have a lot of kids and they assume that’s my giftedness. Sure, kids are cute and all, but after having a house full of kiddos that I deal with 24/7, the nursery is the last place to put a tired mom.

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  12. Aha- get it……and also homeschooling moms?
    Thanks again.
    I really “think” (just my opinion) because I was a freedom loving Christian who felt that the Holy Spirit was the teacher, was one of the reasons they did not want me teaching. I could be wrong, but this is what I sensed. One of my gifts is the gift of discernment so I had a radar miles long- lol. I also think false teachers can sense when someone “looks into the eyes of the soul” and they did not like it. I could feel the shunning of leaders in the church.

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  13. Boy, you could be right there. Some church leaders would feel threatened by someone who is led by the Holy Spirit because that means you are following Someone else and not THEM!

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  14. Don’t you think JA that, even though the pain of loneliness is there because of what we perceived was the body, we can now move on in freedom? What you went through now brought you to seeing the beauty of Christ through a whole slew of believers who also have the freedom to disagree or agree without the fear of being condemned. So, it is bittersweet, the loss. I now know those who will just love for the sake of Christ not “love” for the sake of guilt or because they were forced to.
    The one thing learned by being in this situation now is the ability to see the beauty of the saints and what gifts each one gives to the service of Christ- even though some may not see that in themselves yet.
    Please do believers- you are precious in the sight of Christ!

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  15. Realize that our lives are way too brief to waste it on “churches” who control.

    Realize that our lives cannot be witnesses to the lost, if we continue in “churches” who continue to implode from within.

    Realize that our lives are too precious to Christ to allow abuse to go forward.

    Realize that there are other saints who are in the same position- so leave and be in comfort.

    Realize that the Bible is the Living and Ever Breathing Word of God and the Holy Spirit is its teacher. Without the Spirit you will never know the freedom!

    Realize that there is help and advocacy – it is there, pinky promise!

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  16. I love this video so very very much. Thanks for sharing it. And I really cannot add anything to your own analysis of it above, except to say that many of the comments (when you click through to You Tube) are lovely.

    This is the kind of love when someone pays attention to you and thinks you are a treasure. It’s the way God sees us.

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  17. Julie Ann,

    Whenever I see this sort of love displayed by humans I can only dare imagine the love Christ has for us. I mean if humans can often get it so right……just imagine…..how much more from Jesus Christ.

    btw: In my home growing up, music was the answer to everything. :o) And we had tons of fun with harmonizing.

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  18. I sent it out to about 25 people on Wed. because I 1) Like the song; 2) Think it’s cute; 3) Love the father’s responses (he’s a very good straight man). Didn’t see what you saw beyond the fact that it’s obvious that he loves his kid. I guess I’m not very deep; but, as a Calvinist, what should I expect?

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  19. Faith said:

    What you went through now brought you to seeing the beauty of Christ through a whole slew of believers who also have the freedom to disagree or agree without the fear of being condemned. So, it is bittersweet, the loss.

    Yes, this is very true.

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  20. TrustHimOnly,
    Your sentence is very powerful. it agrees with my personal experience:

    “Realize that our lives cannot be witnesses to the lost, if we continue in “churches” who continue to implode from within.”

    I like the sentiment. If your church isn’t loving, embracing and accepting to new people, it’s a problem. I took several people to my home church and found out it was a complete turn-off to them: They saw it as cold, elitist, holier-than-thou. I finally left. I love my new church. The people I invite love it too.

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  21. You know what Anon. 2, I was so wrapped up in church mentality that my whole thought was to isolate myself from the world or we needed to change it to fit our paradigm. Such wrong thinking on my part.

    Here is a excerpt from a book I am starting to read by Leonard Verduin (shout out to Lydiasellerofpurple for recommending it!). The book is called The Reformers and their Stepchildren- “It is implied in the New Testament vision that Christianity is not a culture creating thing but rather a culture influencing one. Wherever the Gospel is preached human society becomes composite; hence, since culture is the name given to the total spiritual heritage of an entire people, there can never be such a thing as a Christian culture; there can only be cultures in which the influence of Christianity is more or less apparent. The New Testament vision DOES NOT pit a “Christian culture” against a non-Christian culture; rather does it introduce a leaven whereby that already existing culture is then affected. New Testament ideology DOES NOT seek to make the not-yet-believer culturally sterile, nor even the outright unbeliever, the disbeliever; it is satisfied to add the Christians’ voice to the cultural ensemble.”
    This author goes on with the fact that the New Testament vision of the church was not to conform or coerce others to fit within the Christian life but to be so influenced by it that they by their OWN choice would come to it willingly.
    If we really take a hard look at Jesus we would have to make this conclusion from His example. There is no isolation of Christians or coercing other non-believers to create a “Christian Culture”. Can we not totally rely on the fact that Christ’s love is so powerful a thing that its influencing power is enough by how we speak or act in that love? I think so, because I see it here, as long as we realize that there is freedom and if we rest on the fact that God does not need our “persuasive power” of making a “Christian society”. When we can come to the place of loving the non-believer just for the fact he or she is a creation of God made in His image we will start seeing lost accept the message. As of now, they are being turned off big time.

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  22. trust4himonly – Faith

    You write @ SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 @ 1:20 PM…
    “I doubt my own actions in leaving it at times and feel lonely; I could never go back to it though knowing that what we did was right. Still, the lost of physical community is hard;”

    Yup – Know those feelings well…
    And I’ve been out of “The Religious System” since the early 90’s.

    And I also missed that “physical community.” – A Lot…
    But – The benefit of NOT being a part of a – “physical community” – is…

    I had to learn – “Trust For Him Only”
    And to Walk By F.A.I.T.H. – NOT by sight…

    F.orsaking A.ll I. T.rust H.im… 😉

    Sounds to me like you’re doing just fine…
    And Jesus is giving you much understanding – (Jesus is the “ONE” teacher.)

    This is great insight…
    “This is why I think many put up with the abuse of a church because many don’t want to be alone.

    When I think of how many will stay in abuse just for the sake that they will not be alone the numbers would astound. This is one of the reasons the “church” will not change.”

    I’ve had folks say to me…
    Even after pointing out the abuse – And showing them the scriptures…
    And they agree – What is going on – What is being taught – Is harmful…

    They still say – “But where will I go?”

    Sometimes I answer – ‘Well, Abraham went out – By Faith…
    Left his country – Left his family – Left every thing behind… Gen 12:1-4
    He obeyed God – NOT knowing where he was going…
    Looking for a city whose builder and maker is God… Heb 11:8-10

    “You have to hear from Jesus whether to stay – Or – To Go.”
    My Sheep – Hear My Voice – and – Follow Me. John 10:27.

    Jesus never asks His Disciples to Follow “Mere Fallible Humans.”

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

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  23. Julie Anne yesterday @ 1:24 PM: “Faith, I think the sense of community that you are feeling a loss for can be replicated outside of a institutional church building. I wonder if anyone here might have suggestions how that can be achieved?”

    Because of the limited nature of my experience of what I perceive to have been fellowship, in the koinonia sense, I can only suggest something to try. Looking back, I perceive that those times of koinonia were founded primarily on simply spending TIME with other believers, and always SITTING FACE TO FACE, with everybody being invited and encouraged, but not pressured, to participate. The dynamic varies depending on how many people are present, but I suggest that any more than 12 would be too many.

    Minimal structure seems best. If a single leader monopolizes a bible study or even a prayer meeting, koinonia just will not happen. I have seen koinonia happen in a structured exploration of each individual’s gifts, talents, training and experience, but the person designated as the teacher primarily only asked questions and encouraged discussion. It may be helpful to provide some statement of general purpose for getting together, but even such a stated purpose ought not to be held to rigidly. I suggest this from 1 Cor 14:26-33a, not as a set of instructions, but as a point of reference:

    What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets. For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. (ESV)

    My limited experience is that, in such an unstructured setting, and given enough time for people to become comfortable, a bond of fellowship will develop, and each one’s gifts, talents, training and experience will shine through in edification to all.

    Unfortunately, my experience is that koinonia will not happen if a professional “pastor” is present. I have thoughts on why this may be, but this comment is already overlong.

    The one thing I would emphasize is that it is TIME spent together that may be the most important catalyst of koinonia. Time together permits all else to happen in the presence of the Spirit, naturally and without human contrivance. Now, if somebody would just arrange a time and place, and extend the invitations.

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  24. Awesome, A. Amos your words are encouraging.
    Gary, such good advice in which I would wholeheartedly agree. The ability to come together without expectations except to be there in worship to Jesus together using all talents to His glory. I do not want at all anymore to be where there is a “leader” in the sense of a professional pastor- no thank you.
    We do go to a church right (unfortunately we have to leave because we are moving) now where it is just made up of elders. There is no membership and the elders do not like being called by any professional name, such as, pastor or elder. Very different and rare church; but I am leaving and do not feel at this point that God wants us to join any church when we get to where we are moving. Would very much like to have fellowship at home.

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  25. Trust4himonly-Faith

    ” I do not want at all anymore to be where there is a “leader” in the sense of a professional pastor”

    Sounds like wisdom to me… 😉

    Jesus did teach His Disciples NOT to be called leader…
    For you have “ONE” leader – the Christ. Mat 23:10 NASB.

    And – In the Bible – NOT one of His Disciples called them self – “Leader.”
    And – In the Bible – NOT one of His Disciples called them self – “pastor/shepherd.”

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **their shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    I’m Blest… I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

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