Two children sit at opposite ends of a board, hinged in the middle to a round, metal pipe. As one goes up, which often requires pushing off with the legs, the other goes down. Once in a while, if the weight of both kids is the same, it is possible to sit in balance as both sets of legs dangle simultaneously.
Because of the danger factor, playgrounds don’t allow them anymore. When I was young, I recall some kids considered it particularly funny to jump off while the other child was up in the air, which, if you ever had that experience, meant you (the person in the air) fell to the ground- rather quickly. It hurt.
It’s so hard to communicate in our world today. Everyone feels forced to take a side. The media sometimes sensationalizes or plays down the facts to provoke a desired response. Polarization happens so easily. It is very similar to two kids on a see-saw, and rarely is there any balance achieved. Just when real dialogue begins one side or the other decides to jump off, rather than listen and learn. Our positions must be defended at all costs, even if it means dropping another person down, unexpectedly, only provoking deeper hurt and greater division.
I’m tired of it, honestly. Most of it has to do with a quote I read yesterday.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”–Stephen R. Covey
We can’t grow if we don’t listen to the stories of others, even if, and especially when, they think differently than us. If we only surround ourselves with like-minded people, comfortable as it may seem, our chances of becoming enlightened are fairly small.
Here’s to more listening- without being so busy forming a clever answer that we miss what is being said.
And if we hear the wisdom of Bill Nye, The Science Guy:
Each person we meet can teach us something, if we are open.
I want to be open. What about you?