Silent. Listen.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Last Thursday was open house (our school calls it Back to School Night) for the elementary classes.  My son has the great fortune of having the same wonderful third grade teacher that my daughter had.  As I sit there listening to her presentation and marveling at the Smart Board, I noticed a poster above the front bulletin board.  It read:

I consider myself to be erudite and wise, but this fact never occurred to me!  Looking beyond the facts, this statement infers so much more. It is so powerful and relevant.
Lately, it seems like there is much talking, very little listening. Listening is a very important skill that everyone should master.  It is through listening that we learn, that we show interest, and demonstrate that we care.

I sometimes find myself dismissing my children because they love to talk and it can be very exhausting.  I try to show them how to be silent, how to listen to others and their surroundings, and how to appreciate the quiet.  It is in these times of exhaustion, I muster the energy to continue to listen to them.

I have always been content to sit back, take in my surroundings, and listen.  Some take it as shyness, or maybe aloofness, but it really means I respect others and what they have to say.  I save the important stuff for when I actually talk.

Election day is upon us (it happens to fall on my birthday this year).  With all the Facebook postings, opinion columns/blogs, television commentators, and newspaper articles, it seems the lost art of listening is falling further down the pit of despair.  Statements being taken out of context, inferring things from words unsaid, and more diarrhea of the mouth than I can stomach.  I'll be glad when it is all over.

This is not to say I do not care about the outcome.  I do.  However, I will choose to keep my mouth shut, and listen to what everyone has to say, form my opinion, and vote for who I feel will lead our country in a positive manner.  After all, my parents always told me, "If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all."

So listen, listen to your family, to your friends, to your neighbors, and to your community.  Show them you care and maybe even learn something new, all by listening.  And do not forget to vote!

by Gwendolyn D'Amico
Resident Writer

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