I had an appointment today with a new doctor. Doctor’s appointments aren’t my favorite thing, and unfortunately as I get older they seem to be getting more and more frequent. Or is it that now it seems you need to see a specialist for absolutely everything? Whatever the reason, I had to visit this new doc. I filled out my forms and the nurse came (rather quickly) to the waiting room and called me in. She did the usual blood pressure, weight, and gather the basic information stuff and then said, “The doctor will be right in. And by the way, he’s probably the nicest person you’ll ever meet!” And with that, she put my folder in the rack on the door and left.
Quite an introduction, I thought. We’ll have to see. Maybe I don’t really care if he is nice as long as he can take care of my health needs. I took out my book and started to read, thinking that I’d probably be waiting for a long time while the doctor made his way down the hallway from one patient to the next. But to my (happy) surprise, in less than 5 pages, the “nicest person in the world doctor” arrived. And he was very nice. He had me move off the table and sit in a chair to talk. He asked about my family, my health history, my work, and my interests. And he REALLY listened. I asked a lot of questions, and he listened. He took notes (on paper, not on a screen!) paused, answered, and asked me if I had more questions. All the while he had eye contact with me and seemed like he had all the time in the world to chat (while still moving the appointment along). I left the visit feeling very confident in the doctor and quite reassured about my health. I would actually call it a great doctor’s visit.
I hope that I do this for the teachers, colleagues, and students I work with. I hope I lean in. I hope I slow down. I hope I REALLY listen. I hope I give time for them to ask questions and follow up questions. I hope they see that I have time for them (but would never waste their time). I hope I ask questions and listen for answers. I hope I give time for them to say more and more. I hope that my teachers, colleagues, and students feel seen and heard. Listening well might be one of the qualities I want to make absolutely sure I offer to all.