A few weeks ago, we were at the beach for a family reunion of sorts with my brother-in-law’s family and my in-laws. The beach is always a place where we can relax and unwind a bit. The smell of the ocean and the consistent pounding of the waves has a calming effect.
One evening, I went to the beach at sunset with my three kids and my niece and nephew who are 3 and 7, respectively. As we were leaving the beach, there was a couple who were walking three dogs, one of which was a St. Bernard. This dog was huge, very hot, and had an injury on his leg. My three-year-old niece took a look and said “Your doggy has a boo boo.” The owner replied “you must be a veterinarian” to which my seven-year-old nephew stated with authority “No she’s not. She eats bacon.” It was a very cute moment that I’ll likely not soon forget.
While seven-year-olds will often make these cute mistakes, those of us who are more seasoned also make these errors and it’s sometimes not as cute. The difference between what someone says and what someone else hears can result in confusion, resentment, anger, and much worse. It’s not only important for us to be attentive and active listeners, but we should also try to put whatever we think we heard into context before making lasting judgments. We live in a world where quick responses are seemingly demanded, meaning that quick judgments must be made. We would be better served to listen closely and ask questions before making judgments and/or jumping to conclusions.
This week’s selection is:
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
As written by Good Reads. Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her — but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known. So begins an unexpected journey that takes Hiram from the corrupt grandeur of Virginia’s proud plantations to desperate guerrilla cells in the wilderness, from the coffin of the deep South to dangerously utopic movements in the North. Even as he’s enlisted in the underground war between slavers and the enslaved, Hiram’s resolve to rescue the family he left behind endures.