My grandfather and I used to take long walks together, it was where he taught me most about life, sharing his wisdom from a life that did not come easy. His stories of missing out on a Harvard scholarship because of financial hardship and the depression, as well as losing family from typhoid broke my heart. Listening to his stories gave me the strength to be resilient, to keep moving forward when life got hard. I fondly remember those times and can still hear his words, “Jennifer, there is a lot to learn in this world, but you won’t learn it by talking. You already know your story, but you don’t know theirs. Learn to listen and you will not only gain friends but power as well.”
The Bible tells us in James 1:19 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” Listening honors others, teaches us understanding, and leads to unity. When we care enough to hear someone else’s story, we expand our perspective, instead of resenting those who think differently than we do. We would resolve many conflicts if we would remember to listen before reacting. When we refuse to listen, relationships are severed, and hostility grows. We come together when we stop talking and learn to listen.