Friday, October 7, 2016

Listening by Felice Stevens

This past week in synagogue, my rabbi told us the biggest problem facing people today is that we don't listen. We talk at each other, not to each other. We hear what we want to hear and react.

And I think we, even as authors who use words for a living, sometimes say or write things that maybe aren't  the most precise or well crafted, or might be misconstrued, but instead of saying, "Wow that really hurt. Can we talk about it?" we do what we see in the media so often today, and write crafty little sound bites that on their face read witty and snarky, but in the end serve no other purpose but to hurt and cause pain.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. I don't think there is a person out there who hasn't seen or experienced some form of bullying. But it's growing worse. The advent of social media, be it Facebook or Twitter, has made it easier to hide behind a screen and say things to people we'eve never met, that we would never dream of saying to their face. Sometimes the consequences are more horrific than we can imagine. Unfortunately it's become all to common an occurrence to read about a young child who was so mercilessly teased that he or she saw no way out other than to take his or her life. 

I'm not the social media police but I have always believed in being kind. We don't know what people are going through inside and kindness costs us nothing and in the end can mean everything to a person suffering. So lets take a breath and start listening to each other, instead of talking at each other and we might find we are more alike than we thought. 

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