Bird Droppings July 9, 2020
Hearing and listening are critical
“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Epictetus
A simple analogy yet we far too often we as parents. Teachers and or friends do not understand that statement. Perhaps it is because we have more jaw muscle than ear muscle. In education ninety-nine-point nine percent of the time if you the teacher listen, students will learn more. That almost sounds like a paradox.
“Lenin could listen so intently that he exhausted the speaker.” Isaiah Berlin
I have never seen nor heard this about Lenin, as I recalled the many pictures there are of him all show him intently staring. Even in death with his glass coffin that still is on display.
“Listen or thy tongue will keep you deaf.” Native American Indian Proverb
Anyone that knows me has seen me taking pictures tens of thousands of pictures of school, grandbabies, nature and athletic events. Digital cameras can be wonderful tools in the classroom as well. I was taking some pictures of twin day last year and soon to be again during one of our Homecoming dress up days and one little girl was blurred in every photo. She is very ADHD and evidently that day was a bad day for being hyper. But in her constant moving she wouldn’t stop talking as well and I would say be still and bouncing around she would ask what did you say? Even in taking a picture of two of her friends she moved and she wasn’t in the picture till she moved.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston Churchill
Far too often we do not stop to hear what is being said both as teachers and students of life.
“The young people who come to me in the hope of hearing me utter a few memorable maxims are quite disappointed. Aphorisms are not my forte; I say nothing but banalities…. I listen to them and they go away delighted.” Andre Gide
When teachers ask me how I know something about a student I generally say I listened to them.
“I tell you everything that is really nothing, and nothing of what is everything, do not be fooled by what I am saying. Please listen carefully and try to hear what I am not saying.” Charles C. Finn
In our chaotic world so often we miss pieces, bits and tiny segments sometimes what is not said or done is as crucial as all that happens.
“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” Peter F. Drucker
The great business consultant and author Peter Drucker offers again we need to not only to listen but to understand and then read between the lines.
“The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen.” Tommy Smothers
I was always a big fan of The Smothers Brothers back in the day and find interesting how such a simple thought could in effect be a powerful one. If you do not want to hear it don’t listen but let the person speak their piece.
“I guess I’ve spent my life listening to what wasn’t being said.” Eli Khamarov
If we could perhaps things would be different. In politics a journalist is free who was jailed for not speaking out and telling sources however now she is speaking and repercussions could be great.
“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” Robert Fulghum
Dr. Laura Nolte so long ago said “Children learn what they live”. I would offer that we should as parents have another line. Children learn to listen by from parents who listen before speaking. In native cultures listening to elders was how education, culture and life was transmitted. I read an article on an elder in South America who was the last of his tribal medicine people. No one wanted to earn the old ways anymore and were too into their modern technology. He was one of the last that still knew the tribal tongue and a National Geographic writer took it upon himself to record the language and ways of this elder. An outsider saw a piece of humanity that was nearly extinct and sat and listening for several months. Hopefully one day these words will be shared and others can listen. I listened to the famous Beatles song Blackbird in the Mohawk tongue yesterday. A beautiful rendition. Sometimes we need to sit, stop and listen.
“Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” James Baldwin
Each day I watch and listen and deal with issues of friends, passerby’s, high school teenagers and so many others imitating what they have learned from home. Often simply mirror images of mom and dad or whomever is the one at the house. For today please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)