“What would you like me to know?”
Those words close out this article about the Larry Nassar abuse trial and they are those of Judge Rosemarie Aquilina who welcomed each person who came forward with a victim impact statement to her courtroom by saying: “Thank you. What would you like me to know?”
That word choice made me pause because it struck me as being a bit unexpected and because of that, the words are more powerful. As I reflected on her words, I think they speak volumes about her attitude of listening.
She isn’t saying “what do you want to tell me” she is asking what they want her to know.
To know is to comprehend. To know is to understand.
Think of the nuance in that statement. If I ask you what you want to tell me, it implies that I’ll listen but it doesn’t mean that I will necessarily seek to understand your point.
I have written previously about our propensity to talk instead of listening when we want information. This goes one step further. We need to not just listen, but to listen with the intent to understand.
By asking her question in that way, Judge Aquilina has put the onus on herself to understand the messages being delivered. She is declaring that as her intention.
When did you last listen with the intent to know?