May 29, 2012

The Gift of Listening

When was the last time you truly listened?

Sometimes listening isn't always auditory. Sometimes it's visual. Even with extra "listening devices" I again ask, when was the last time you truly listened?

I was lucky this past week. I am a volunteer teacher for our local Junior Achievement. I clear my calendar on a regular basis to make time to help this program. If you're not familiar with JA, take some time and learn about the program. Junior Achievement is a real world application of everything our children learn in the classroom.

junior achievementIt's not about memorizing facts but rather about figuring out how to use what they learn in a way that will help them further their education, consider starting a business or participating in the opportunity to influence change. Junior Achievement shows our children a way to use what they know to be strong and independent adults. Junior Achievement's ongoing educational programs gives our young people the tools to understand what comes next.

I am so confident as a Junior Achievement teacher that I can almost do the lessons without the book. I know the material inside-out.

You can imagine my surprise when one of the student letters I received began this way:

"you've taught us so many things. I need to teach something to you." 

At first I thought, "oh how cute" but my thoughts were a bit dismissive. Yeah, my jaded mind thought, "what can a second grader teach me?"

Turns out, quite a bit. I humbly read on.
"you must know to leave without fear. You need to learn to say goodbye."  
I silently smiled at my young teacher. I was washed over by her wisdom. I don't know why she felt so compelled to teach me something, and I'm not so arrogant as to believe her teaching was because it was our last class. It was deeper than that. She had something to tell me.

My little student wrapped up her note with a rapid departure from her advice, quickly moving to a marketing place.
"I also wanted to tell you that I want to be an artist if I become one you have a free picture and [sic] autograph"

The universe turns.

What was the last time you LISTENED?


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