“Everything you know is something you have been told.” I have been singing this line since I can remember. My mother used to say it to me to let me know that I was responsible for what I knew, and that I could only gain that knowledge by letting someone actually have a conversation with me. As you can see, this stuck with me. Any person who has come into contact with me on any given day could tell you I’m a talker. Some interpret me as loud, others as opinionated; but it all boils down to one word, conversation. Weather its input in a classroom, a short chat with the lady behind you at the grocery store, or walking by someone and simply saying, “Hi,” conversations are the building blocks of every aspect of life as we know it, and it has become my golden rule.
I can remember back to my childhood, listening to my mother talk to my father. I would be lying in my bed, just risen from sleep, and just the murmurs of two voices in another room would make me feel instantly comfortable. I would continue to lay there and savor the sweet sounds carrying into my bedroom in those early hours. Now I think back, and I know what it was that comforted me so. I realize now that even the smallest gestures can cause another person to feel adequate, or special, or even worth while. I still carry these feelings with me today. There is a part of me that will always feel at ease when someone stops, and takes the time to open their mouth and share their day with me, and the only reason I know this is through practice.
It seems almost foolish to say that you can stop anyone and change their day by having a conversation, but I am and willing to make that bet. I have seen frowns turn to smiles, I have seen tears dry in a millisecond, and I’ve even seen people blow some steam here and there. I challenge you today, and every day after that to open your mind and mouth and connect with another human being. The only way that one can learn is by being taught, and how can one expect to learn if they refuse to speak?
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.