Grandmas always say the best things, and I don’t really think they mean to most of the time. It just happens without thought and during the most banal of conversations. It probably has to do with their years of experience, their accumulated wisdom, and their simplicity. As we know, the more we do, see, learn, and understand the simpler things become. Grandmas are simple, and their words are, too.
Grandma told me that everyone likes to talk. They like to talk about their thoughts, experiences, opinions, and ideas. Furthermore, and probably more importantly, they like to be listened to. They like the assurance that someone else is actively hearing them, processing their thoughts, and really partaking in their words, and by extension, their experience.
That’s deep, Grandma. I was just calling you to let you know I’ll be coming home for a few days right before Christmas which is awesome because I’m exhausted from my internship.
But Grandma makes a lot of sense. It’s a simple thought, and it’s a thought that we as veterinarians, 40 years into it or just starting out as an intern or general practitioner, should always keep in mind. Practicing good medicine, patient care, and maintaining the quality of life is important, but listening (truly listening) is powerful. It’s also probably really difficult.
I’m sure there’s a reason Grandma felt the need to bring that up, it must have been on her mind either transiently or for quite a while. Either way, I think we should keep that in mind during the course of the day on the hospital floor or in the clinic exam room.
Keep those ears open, the mind working, and the attentiveness attentive. There are many ways, I’m sure, to make it clearly obvious that we are listening and I’m sure everyone has their most effective method of doing so. Maybe that will be the topic of the next causal phone call with Grandma.