I overhear my kids bickering in the playroom. They were getting along nice for a while but an argument erupted. I’m not sure who started it or what it’s about but I can hear them yelling back and forth.
“WHAT DO YOU WANT?” My daughter screams. Her brother cries while yelling back but she gets frustrated and throws a few toys in his direction and stomps into my room to tell me her version of the story.
I call both of them in, but first ask my daughter what her brother wanted.
She lets out an exasperated sigh and starts rattling off her frustrations.
“But what did your brother want? Were you listening?”
After a minute or two, I decipher the disagreement, they both apologize and go back to playing and I’m left with a realization that applies to us all.
We don’t listen.
We skim, we tune in for portions and we jump to conclusions. And when we do actually listen to someone else’s argument we are doing it to formulate a rebuttal of our own to further our point.
We don’t listen.
This has been a sad month. There’s so much pain, so much hatred and fear. An incredible amount of misunderstanding.
It’s time to stop and listen.
When was the last time you read an opposing viewpoint to yours and tried to understand where they were coming from?
How about this week we say less and listen more. Really listen. And try to see, really see someone, and their point of view.
Surely you don’t know everything there is to know about police work or Black Lives Matter. Most people don’t know nearly enough. We stay in our circles and listen to people who agree with our own beliefs, then boast ourselves up in our rightness.
If you hate police and everything the institution stands for, go on a ride out, or talk to a police officer and ask them their opinions on the issues that concern you. Ask them about their fears, or what it’s like doing what they do and what they believe their biggest misconception is. Don’t rebuttal. Don’t reply. Just listen.
If you don’t understand what Black Lives Matter stands for, or worse–think it’s a hate-based organization, visit their website to find out more about what it really stands for, find a chapter near you and visit a meeting, or ask a supporter why they use that phrase. Then listen. Really listen to what they have to say.
Talk to someone who has a different faith than you, and ask them why they believe what they believe. This isn’t an argument or a chance for you to convert them to your faith. Just listen.
Know a Trump supporter? A Hilary defender? … You get the idea.
We’re so caught up in our beliefs and wanting to be right that we never stop to hear–really hear what someone else has to say.
I don’t care if you are right. I don’t care if people need to hear what you have to say. Chances are if you feel that way you’ve been saying a lot. So this week, listen.
If you don’t know where to start, I’ll give you a few starting points:
An extremely detailed look at one man’s experience being black in suburban America. And his dealings with police.
Corporal Montrell Jackson’s Facebook plea to end the hate (a week before he was killed).
Sentiments from the Dallas police Chief about police being asked to do too much.
Read something else others should listen to? Please share it in the comments.