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Hearing vs. Listening

Hearing vs. Listening

By P.B, age 15

I was in a show called The Trials which largely focuses on the topic of climate change and society. After we finished a show, we would have a talkback with the audience, and give them the opportunity to share how they felt about the show and we would then share ways we could all help the environment. We wanted to have conversations and we wanted to help people understand. 

The director told us the next night, but after the first show, an elderly man went up to the director and told her that there was far too much swearing. In his words, “Kids don’t swear like that.” The director said that quite a few of them do, and wouldn’t the kids in the play be swearing given all that they’ve been through? Finally, she said that she hoped he took more from the play than just how much swearing there was. This man was focusing on the swear words, not the important words and messages built around them. 

Here is what we should be asking: what are you taking away from this? 

When we go to protests, you hear our yelling but you don’t listen to the words. And there is a large difference between hearing and listening. Listening is by choice. It is an act of patience, of sitting down and saying, “I’m ready to learn.” You can say “I hear it” all you want, but until you stop and really pay attention for the sake of yourself and everyone, you aren’t listening to us.

So, are you hearing, or are you listening? 

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  1. Very profound message. Definitely a worthwhile question to ask ourselves.

  2. Such a great and poignant question. Well written, and well thought out.


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