Open Your Ears

To be a good listener, one has to simply open their ears. There should be no judging, nodding of the head, slouching, etc. because that does not contribute to listening. When a person listens they should try to understand what is being said and what is being told to them rather than staring off into the distance, if you will. Listening should involve trying to put yourself into another’s shoes or at least trying to empathize with their story because they are telling it for a reason. As a case in point, when I was younger, I received a writing award from my teacher. Naturally, being a kid I didn’t care much because I just enjoyed watching TV and playing Pac-Man, so I shrugged it off thinking nothing of it. My parents however, thought it was amazing and reminded once in a while of this award.

I never wanted to listen to my parents in regards to this, because I simply didn’t believe I was a good writer and that maybe it was the thing that made me, me. I just thought it was something I enjoyed doing in my free time once in a while and that it was nothing special (also, I didn’t want to imagine I was better than anyone else, not that I think that now). I remember thinking it was just something teachers do to make their students feel good. I had thought it was some type of mistake and I wasn’t worthy of that award, so I just shrugged it off and never gave it a second thought. Growing up I’ve always loved writing in general and I had been alright at English, but the moment I realized maybe my parents and teachers had a point was in my first advanced English class. I was in eleventh grade, it was advanced placement language and composition. I had never been in any sort of advanced class before so I thought, well, this is not going to go well; I was right. Now it wasn’t too bad, but there were definitely ups and downs in the whole experience.

One thing I don’t think I’ll ever forget is my teacher announcing to the class how good one of the papers I wrote was. It was a good feeling! I’ll admit that it gave me second thoughts about me being able to write well. It didn’t however sway me into thinking this could be a profession I might want to pursue when I’m older. What did change my mind was when I had to debate with a fellow classmate who let’s just say thought that he was the smartest cookie out of every single person he ever encountered. Well not the day I creamed him in a debate. I want to say it was no big deal, but in all honesty it was nice to beat him at his own game and give him a taste of his own medicine. But what really helped me in doing that was me planning out what points he could potentially bring up to emphasize his viewpoint and how I would be able to back up my points to counter back. At the moment that I realized I might actually have something there, I also discovered maybe I should do something with writing and maybe it’s really a good idea after all.

I chose this story to describe listening because in all honesty, as much as I wish I could say my parents and teachers had no idea what I was good at, it ended up being what I loved and what I decided would be my major going into college. Yes, these little snippets of my life did indeed add up to form an idea of what I may want to pursue when I’m older, and I’m very grateful I finally listened to the ones who seemed to know it the longest.

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