This I Believe

Diana - Mesa, Arizona
Entered on October 19, 2006

I believe in laughing, love, life, lazy mornings, lichi soda and little toy surprises inside Kinder Eggs. However, above all else, I believe in listening.

This rudimentary skill seems to be taken for granted. People say they listen; sure, their ears are open and can hear properly but what good is hearing if a person refuses to compute or understand what is said? If we refuse to listen, why bother speaking at all? Obviously this basic function must go beyond the simple mechanics of vibrations to the eardrum to interpret sound waves. However, as sad as it may appear, listening beyond a person’s own stereotypes or objections due to upbringing requires teaching, requires the ability to differentiate between close-mindedness and staying true to personal dogmas.

I believe in listening to both sides, listening with both ears, listening with a grain of salt, yet also with an open mind, listening to find the truth. In today’s world of foreign affairs, governmental issues, and even urban disputes, compromise cannot arise if people refuse to listen properly.

As a child, I grew up with an older brother and younger sister. We always fought. However, instead of only the immediate dismissal to time-out, our mom made us talk to each other about why we fought. As one blubbering sibling complained, the other was not allowed to interject. After both sides had a chance to explain, discussion could commence while under the refereeing of Mom. By the end, both would see that the tiff occurred from something superficial or just a misunderstanding.

Misunderstanding— that seems to be the consensus of altercation in the world. Throw ignorance into the stew and soldiers should already have their guns and rifles locked and loaded.

Whoever said “ignorance is bliss” might want to rethink his pseudo utopia. Yet as impractical as global peace may appear, it seems a shame not to hope for it. If we continue to expect conflict, struggle, oppression, and war then why bother? Obviously the human race has found something to live for, be it hopes and dreams for the present or future, we refuse to do anything but persevere. Therefore, if we have dreams then why not let them be of peace and coherence, of insight and comprehension. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream along with a voice of reason and justice; once people began to listen, beyond the cut and dry of white society, beyond ignorance and deeply rooted standards, the world changed.

Granted, a quarrel between two children cannot compare in stature to the Civil Rights Movement or any war to boot; yet the road to change starts somewhere. Now if only proper listening could spread faster than bitter words and balled fists, we’d be set.

Perhaps that is a dream worthwhile.