I may be slow to understand things but once I get them they change me.

Listening is one of those things.

Perhaps because I grew up in a household where children were not meant to be heard, once I escaped it seemed that I wanted everyone to hear me. I was anxious to share my thoughts and feelings on any subject at hand and I suspect I was downright obnoxious about it.

Then one day, perhaps I was ill, or perhaps I simply didn’t feel like speaking, I listened to what others around me had to say instead. I learned an important lesson that day—that it is impossible to learn anything when your tongue is flapping. You can only learn when your ears are open.

Let me repeat that because it is crucial to becoming a better person.

You can only learn when your ears are open and your tongue is quiet.

I discovered that people need to talk, they need to tell their stories, and if I sit quietly with them, or give them a few encouraging words, they will spill what is uppermost on their minds.

It’s amazing how much my understanding of the world grew because it no longer held only my thoughts and experiences.

And now maybe I have something to say that’s worth listening to.