Peace Partnership

The Benefit of Being an Active Listener

Posted by on Aug 1, 2018


Did you know that there are levels of listening? Listening should be a whole body experience. When I worked in an elementary school I taught social and emotional classroom lessons to kindergarteners. Is your whole body showing me that you are listening? Your eyes? Ears? Hands? Brain? Heart? While this might sound juvenile and silly, take a step back—when you truly listen to someone, where is your head at? What are your eyes doing? How does it feel to truly be with them in that moment? Listening is hard work, and not just for my kindergarteners. Henri Nouwen wrote,

To be an active and empathic listener you must be engaged. How are you communicating with the speaker non-verbally? What are your words reflecting? Are your electronic devices present or set aside?

Listening has many levels and we experience and provide them each and every day. If you Google ‘levels of listening’ you will come across several different authors and speakers’ ideas and numbers. For the purpose of this article, I am going to use Covey’s 5 levels that he talks about at length in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

  1. Ignoring: Not listening. This is the first level of listening and if you’ve ever experienced this, it feels pretty awful. You are speaking to someone and not getting anything in return. The person or group is not giving you feedback (verbal or non) and you are not garnering any attention.
  2. Pretending: This level of listener is just pretending to listen. They might track you with a nod or an ‘mhmm’ but, they often immediately delve into their topic or agenda once you are done talking and/or have no recollection of the conversation if brought up later. Basically, these people are just waiting for their turn to talk.
  3. Selective: These listeners do hear some of what you have to say. They are quick to grasp onto or interrupt once they’ve heard what they want. Parents and teachers—this is the listening where our kiddos only hear certain things (you tell them to clean their room 5 times and they didn’t hear you but a box of cookies is quietly opened and those kids are immediately by your side).
  4. Attentive: These listeners hear you. They can recall your information and how you have said it—they remember what was said later. This listening can feel flat and lacks emotional connection.
  5. Empathic/Reflective/Active: These listeners are listening holistically. They are with you in the conversation. Often they ask you open ended questions and they provide room for silence to speak. If they have difficulty understanding what you are saying, they reflect back to you for clarification.

For the record, none of these levels of listening are bad. It’s unrealistic (and sounds exhausting) to try to have an empathic listening experience with every person or group that you encounter. However, it is important to recognize the significance of listening and the consequence of misappropriated listening.

The sharing of this hospitality is one that we should gift freely to those who are invested in our lives. Are you giving your friends and family your level one listening all the time and saving the higher level listening only for work? Are you disengaged with your coworkers and unresponsive? How are you listening to God?

If we acknowledge these levels of listening and try to put active listening into play in our personal lives, conflict resolves quicker, and understanding goes up. This skill is one that takes a lifetime to practice and implement but the benefit is great. Covey shares: “To truly listen means to transcend your autobiography, to get out of your own frame of reference, out of your own value system, out of your own history and judging tendencies, and to get deeply into the frame of reference or viewpoint of another person. This is called empathic listening. It is a very, very rare skill. But it is more than a skill. Much more.”- Stephen R. Covey, The 8th Habit

Exciting news! Part of our core values at Peace Partnership include giving back to our community and education. This fall, we will double the number of schools in our free in-school counseling program by expanding our practice to provide internship opportunities for students completing their Master’s degree. This internship will provide the individual with a valuable counseling experience while gaining the clinical hours they need to graduate.

Our first intern is Rivers Partin. Rivers is finishing her Masters in Counseling at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary this year. Rivers and her husband Dave have 4 children and are church planters for the North American Mission in Overland Park, Kansas. Rivers brings years of experience with her, and is eager to continue providing support for women, couples, families, and children.



Calling all Volunteers and Business Sponsors!
Event Date: Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 8:30am
Adams Pointe Golf Club, Blue Springs, MO
Join our largest fundraiser by becoming a sponsor or volunteering for our Golf Classic. Click here for more details or email Amy.
Our teams are almost sold out! If you’re interested in playing, register here.



Now – August 2018
Porter Chiropractic & Acupuncture is offering a complimentary chiropractic exam and x-ray for $20.00, with all proceeds being donated to Peace Partnership. For more details, follow the link, see our events page, or call 816-524-5838. Thank you Porter Chiropractic!



Join our “100 Campaign”
100 people giving $100 to raise $10,000!
We know we can do more together than apart, so we are working to collectively raise $10,000 to help provide quality, affordable mental health counseling for children in our community. Click here to join the campaign.


Thank You!

Thank you to our partners:

  • Thank you, Cyndi Eskina, for your continued belief and support of our mission.
  • Dan & Gale Ripley, thank you for your support of our golf tournament.
  • A special thank you to everyone who contributed to our “100 Campaign” this month – Doug & Lindsay Bonebrake, and Brian & Lona Bremer.

Thank you to our Peace Partnership Golf Classic Sponsors and to those who have already registered to play. We are grateful for your support and excited to see you in September!

Thank you to our golf sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor:

Platinum Sponsors:

Gold Sponsors:

Silver Sponsor:

Contest Sponsors:

Premium Hole Sponsors:

Hole Sponsors:

If you are interested in finding out how you can become a Peace Partner this year, don’t miss the chance to get involved. Please click on the link below to become a Partner. To host an event or take part in any of our upcoming activities, contact our Director of Development, Amy Henderson at 816-399-0530 or:

Partner with us