I learn a lot from my children, everyday. Having kids is fun! Its like being a kid again seeing the world through their eyes. Right now, my daughter is giving me lessons on how to be a good listener.
Rule #1. Look the other person in the eye.
My daughter teaches me that to be a good listener you have to look the other person in the eyes when they are talking. If I just nod when she is speaking, she will think that I am not listening (which is true half of the time). So she will call me again and again and again till I look at her right in the eye before she starts speaking.
Rule #2. Give the other person you're listening to your undivided attention
Then I have to wait patiently until she completes her sentence which goes something like this "Mummy, mummy, mummy, ummh, err, ahh, ummph, err," (Actually she can speak a lot more than this but usually by the time she gets mummy's attention she has forgotten what she wanted to say so she mumbles.) Poor thing.
Rule #3. Validate, validate, validate
If I tell my daughter, "Oh yes, I see, you want me to take the balloon for you from the playpen." Now if that was what she was trying to tell me and I had listened correctly, my validation will leave her beaming with pride and happiness at being able to communicate this to mummy so effectively.
I have also taught daugther that she can't get what she wants by whining. I tell her to "talk properly", "tell mummy what you want, when you whine mummy cannnot understand what you're saying." She understands this so she will go "mummy, mummy, mummy" and then "maaaa...........mmmmyyy" (when she realises that she has been whining and cannot get my attention she will switch to talking very slowly and patiently just like mummy taught). So now mummy who is right in the middle of a task have to stop patiently (and count to ten) to listen.
I think its my daughter who is teaching me how to be patient not the other way around.