Be the Teacher
Listening. We all want to be heard. It’s often a gift to listen when someone needs to talk. But not always . . .
Sometimes we talk just to know that we’re here. Sometimes we rattle on without thinking about what we’re saying. Sometimes we talk to fill space or win favor. Sometimes we talk just to know we’re okay or to prove that we’re good enough.
I heard a parable about a teacher and a student. Sometimes I’m the teacher. Sometimes I’m not. It’s easy to be the student. I want to remember the story, so I pass it on.
On beautiful day centuries ago, a teacher was walking down a dirt road in the country, thinking teacherly thoughts.
A student, filled with excitement, ran up to the teacher saying, “Master, I have news you should know, important news, from the city.”
The teacher smiled at the student and slowed so the student could catch up and catch his breath. As they walked together, the teacher softly spoke.
“May I ask a few questions first?”
“Oh yes, of course, Teacher, yes,” the student gushed.
“This news you bring — does it tell a of a good deed?”
“Oh no, Teacher. Someone has done something wrong.”
“Do you know the person yourself?’
“No, Teacher. I don’t, but the person who told me does.”
“Do you know that the story is true?”
“My friend swears it is so.”
The teacher walked silently for a while so that the student might hear his own answers. When the teacher spoke again, it was almost a whisper.
“You wish to tell me bad news about someone you do not know about something you don’t know is true. This news is not important.”
The teacher asked three simple questions and knew whether to listen.
Those three questions make it easy to decide.
We can choose not to listen.
We can change the world — just like that.
–ME “Liz” Strauss