This I Believe

Kate - Palatine, Illinois
Entered on May 11, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: tolerance

From my experience as a student, I have found that I become a lot quieter in class than I am in other environments. We students have always been told to participate as much as possible, which I do feel is important since expressing your opinions is a part of developing as an individual. But as guilty as I sometimes feel for not being the best participant in class, I find it much more enlightening to sit back and listen. I believe that the best way to learn about yourself as well as others is to take the time to listen to what others have to say.

In our society today, we have become more and more preoccupied with our own opinions. Just turn on the TV and see everything from flashy reality shows to the news reports on the war overseas; lots is being said out there. But is anyone really listening to what they hear? What’s the use in going through all the trouble to lay your beliefs out there when no one is there to listen to it? I feel the act of communication in our world today has become one-sided. There are too many people talking and not enough people listening. So many problems could be avoided and so much can be achieved if we all learn to take the time to listen for a change.

The way I see it, it’s much more enlightening to discover what others have to say on particular issues than to keep repeating what you already know. I am fascinated by hearing all the different viewpoints and interpretations people can have on the same issue. I have learned so much about my own values by listening to others. Everyday I am continuously intrigued by what others say in class. All the lessons I get out of listening to my classmates justifies being quiet. And I am in no way condemning the act of self-expression; I feel it is a crucial part of learning and living in this world. But we all need to slow down and listen to what is actually being said out there. In my opinion, an open ear means an open mind, and we could use a little more open-mindedness in our society. Listening can be the first step to progress in our world. Listening can be the key to a brighter future. We just need to use it. This I believe.