Listen to the People of the World

Christine - Natchitoches, Louisiana
Entered on January 26, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

This I believe that we can learn from every person, no matter how poor, what age, color, or how uneducated they are; everybody has a story to tell along with their own personal wisdom, and when we stop and listen, we will hear.

People may call me shy, because I’m not constantly talking. That may be so, but I believe I learn when I listen, because when I’m talking I am just saying what I already know. I’m not saying that you need to always be quiet, but that you should also learn to listen to other people. Everyone grows up differently and is exposed to and taught a variety of things. Therefore everyone is unique. Outside influences makes you who you are. And I’ve found that some of the most ordinary people (for example a diner waitress who lives in an apartment with her kids) are sometimes the most complex and interesting people to be around. I especially love old people; they have so many stories and a lifetime of history to tell. When I hear what people have to say, I’m learning what they believe in.

Not long ago, I took a flight from my small town in Louisiana to Vienna, Austria. The flight seemed to last forever and I’d never flown completely alone before, but along the way I met a variety of interesting people from all over the world. And I heard their stories: young Indian bride on her way home to India for the first time after being married almost two years ago; American coming home after studying abroad for a year; old English lady who said I reminded her of her granddaughter; mother and her two kids flying to meet family for Christmas. The list goes on. I heard their stories, even if just a glimpse of them, and they definitely made my thirty hour flight a whole lot better!

I can’t say that I came to my belief on a such and such day at certain time, but that I came to believe in learning from others over a long, ongoing period. I didn’t wake up one day and suddenly realize that everyone deserves to be heard. No, it grew on me until finally I realized it is true; everyone does have a story, a story unlike anyone else’s. You may think that what I believe in is obvious but do you apply it and listen?

Ask people questions and you’ll be amazed at the answers you’ll hear, things you never even imagined. This is learning and that is what I believe.