I wish I had more time and energy to listen. To listen to my kids, my husband, my friends, my family, my community, people in need. Recently, I attended events where I listened to families praying for medical miracles for their sick children, to teenagers explaining what it means to be homeless. Most powerful, however, was the unexpected opportunity to listen to a sweet, precocious little girl tell me, a stranger, about her family – their struggles with poverty and her sadness over their separation from her sister.
Listening is hard – it means accepting responsibility for what you learn and, if you do it well, it means truly working. Working to understand someone else’s point of view. Working to push down your need to jump in, to clarify, to offer solutions or share your point of view. Working to understand someone else’s pain, fear, hope, desires. It can be emotionally draining.
If I’m honest, I’m not always a good listener. Suppressing the desire to interrupt, speak my piece, correct and connect with a “me too” is a personal struggle. Sometimes, just staying focused is a struggle. We all get tired, drained, preoccupied with a million other things that keep us from being present.
Jebeh and I set out with a goal to listen – to our kids, to each other, to our friends, family and community – to accept some responsibility. And in turn, respond with passion. Passion and perspective so we can all grow together. We continue to pursue that goal.
It’s been two weeks since we’ve posted on this site. That’s on me. I’ve been helping a friend get an important project off the ground. Similar to the mommiesinblackandwhite.com project, she was inspired by LISTENING to her students. By allowing them space and time to grapple with tough topics and personal struggles, she learned. She accepted responsibility. She responded with passion.
Here’s the result: http://www.genderedpodcast.com/
Please – if you believe in listening and responding with passion, keep supporting these efforts. Listen. Read. Share. Comment. Together, we can make real change where it matters most, one transformed perspective at a time.