Bright Idea: In Order to Be Heard, We Must First Listen
Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to step back into the classroom as a temporary sub. Anyone who knows me knows that a preschool classroom surrounded by squishy faces is literally my version of heaven. I hope one day I am able to put into words just how much I love them all. But as this school year began and the children filed into the classroom one by one, reality sort of slapped me in the face. As I stared into the eyes of these little ones I felt myself wanting to apologize to them for some reason. “I am so sorry you have to wear that mask,” “I am so sorry you do not get to see all of your friends on the playground,” “I am so sorry the world is the way it is.”
As the day continued, I found myself truly stopping, looking into both children and teachers’ eyes and listening when they spoke. I’ve always taken pride in being a good listener, but the act of listening takes on an entirely new meaning when everyone is wearing a cloth barrier between them. While there is an evident disconnect, in a way, I somehow feel more connected to everyone than ever. The resilience of our children is glaring and hopeful.
When you actually take the time to stop and look into someone’s eyes, it can be quite powerful. For our little ones bouncing through the school halls it is vitally important for them to feel heard as they grow and develop. Mask or no mask, I encourage you all to stop and listen when someone speaks to you. Don’t be afraid to look them in the eye. Their eyes often tell you more than their words ever could. When you truly hear someone else, they are more likely to listen to you in return.
Happy Friday – thank you for listening
Mary Rose White