Listening

The Clan Mother for this Moon cycle is “Listening Woman”. She teaches us how to listen and how to hear in order to gain the Wisdom, heal ourselves and change the world.

Yesterday I was asked to observe a young man in a Grade 8 class. While I was there I witnessed an interaction that was, to me, extraordinary and was a perfect example of Listening Woman at work.

The assignment for the class was to write an essay about something that was important to them, such as why the school day should be shorter. One student, a young lady, who apparently does not interact in class or work on tasks in the classroom, sat quietly at her desk for most of the class. Even after several attempts to get her to start writing she never looked at her paper or picked up a pen.

Then near the end of the class she put her hand up and asked the teacher to help her find an idea to write about. She had my attention – she had asked for help. The teacher came and pulled up a chair beside her desk and sat quietly. After a moment she asked the young lady a question about her family. It was a simple question and after the equally simple response the teacher made a comment that opened the door for the student. For the next few minutes she told a story about her family and shared her feelings about the situation. It was like a plug was pulled and the floodgates opened. Not only was she telling a story but she was sharing some pretty personal thoughts and feelings about the situation.

The teacher was asked a question by another student and the storytelling paused. The teacher then turned her attention back to the student, having said nothing since her original comment. The student said, “I’ve picked my topic.” Surprisingly, it was not about her family but about a very important cause and prevention strategies. She then shared another story about someone in the community and how the situation had impacted her.

The teacher said that it was a very important message to share and left her to start writing. For the next twenty minutes or so (right into the next class session) the young lady was busy writing. When she was done she held up her paper and proudly showed the room, not that anyone noticed, as they were busy with other things. She then went to two friends to have them each read the story and to share her passion. Her eyes were wide and glistening with alertness; her words came quickly as she urgently passed on her message. She had come “alive”.

I sat in awe. Coaxing and coercing had done nothing; feeding her ideas to write about had done nothing; asking her what she was interested in had done nothing … and then someone listened and her world changed.

The rest of the class I looked around at all the young troubled souls who were clambering for attention by disrupting the class, who made it very clear that they did not want to be there, and I wondered, “what if someone just listened…”

Thank you Listening Woman for that experience and that Wisdom.

~ Debbie, The Gathering Place

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1 Comment

  1. msdebbiep said,

    May 15, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    interesting – -yesterday on the news they should a high school where the students are doing everything the can to keep a custodian on the “day shift” because they think he is so special. What makes him special? He talks to them every day; he knows their names; … and I’m assuming that “he listens”.


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