The Power of Listening

On Lee - Groton, Massachusetts
Entered on October 31, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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Why is listening important? What difference can listening make? “Listening is powerful,” said my mother. She always tells me that being a good listener is important. When I was little, I didn’t understand the importance of listening, and many people told me that I was impatient. When I had to do something, I liked things to be done fast, and I rarely slowed down and listened to other peoples’ opinions. I thought listening was simple and easy. Until I was in 6th grade, I didn’t believe in the power of listening.

When I was in 6th grade, there was a girl in my class who wore a hat to the school every day. She was pale and skeletal, and no one would like to talk to her. A month went by, my teacher told me to try to talk to her. I didn’t really want to because I thought if I talked to her, my friends would regard me as a “weirdo”. Our first conversation was awkward. Although I talked to her, I wasn’t listening at all. She didn’t talk much either. Since I didn’t have much patience, I gave up talking to her. I returned to my normal life and hung out with my friends when I was free. Although I could have free time again, I felt guilty leaving that girl alone.

When I wandered on the street, a chilly breeze passed through my face. It woke up my mind, and I realized that I couldn’t remember anything from the conversation. I didn’t even know her name. I only remember hearing the laughter of my friends and the footsteps from the hall way when she was talking to me. The next day at lunch, I ambled to her table and we started to talk. I didn’t talk much and I listened. I found out her name was Judy, and she was more talkative than I thought. She told me that she had leukemia. Because of the treatment, she didn’t have much hair. Judy was older than me because she didn’t go to school for two years. “You are my first friend who listens to my story in this school. Thanks,” Judy said. I could tell Judy was very happy. After I listened to her story, several drops of tears slid down from my face; they tasted salty and bitter. The power of listening astonished me and I was amazed by the difference that listening made. Judy and I became best friends. She became more optimistic to fight her sickness and she recovered. Now, she studies in Canada and makes a lot of friends.

To truly listen, we use not only our ears but also our hearts. We won’t experience everything in our lives. However by listening to other peoples’ stories, we can learn about their lives and feel their experiences. From Judy’s story, I learned that we can’t predict our future, but what we can do is to be positive and face our difficulties bravely. By listening to others, I learned how to get along with people and I learned many lessons. A good listener will have many friends because people like to talk to that person and they can trust that person. Listening allows us to recognize the beauty of the world. If everyone can slow down and listen to others, many conflicts and confusion will be solved and the world will be more peaceful and beautiful. Therefore, I believed in the power of listening.