I had intended to share some news about how Covid-19 has affected those of us in the incarcerated community, but an incident with one of my students has led me down a different path this week.
During a math assignment, the student had become frustrated, forgetting the lesson I had explained just shortly beforehand. When I attempted to point out where her mistake was, she began loudly talking over me, emphatically trying to justify her faulty logic. In other words, she was unwilling to listen. Repeatedly cutting me off in mid-sentence, I would wait for her to stop before trying again to re-start my explanation and get my point across. Her voice, along with the situation, kept escalating, and I was becoming more exasperated, until I finally gave up, as the situation was becoming too disruptive to my other students. It was not until the following day that she became receptive to my assistance.
Humans are social creatures. It is inherent in our nature to want to connect with others, to engage in an exchange of energy and conversation. But too often, we are so focused on what we put out to others that we are unable to take in or absorb anything, and as a result, there is much that we miss. When we are so fixated on our need to talk, to explain ourselves, to make ourselves heard, and to make others absorb what we are saying, we inhibit our ability to hear and to grow and learn.
Words are precious things, and spending them frivolously will certainly serve to cheapen and devalue them. As with any currency, it would better enrich us to collect and save them, and to invest them wisely. This can only be accomplished by learning to be still and to listen.