I so enjoyed listening to Dr. Elizabeth Parks last month as she discussed the art and science of ethical, sustainable listening — and the ways that we often miss one another. Think about how much time each of us has spent learning to communicate our message, our point of view. To be persuasive. I doubt many of us have spent nearly as much time leaning in on how to listen as well as we speak.
For one thing, there is so much noise. It really resonated as Dr. Parks talked about the noise in our lives that prevents us from truly listening. As I write this, my 5-year-old has awoken early and is sitting next to me. He’s thirsty, he’s hungry, and he wants to tell me about how cute penguins are. He’s experiencing physiological noise (he’s ready for breakfast), and I’m experiencing physical noise as he continually interrupts my thoughts — what if penguins and rabbits had a party together!?
But it’s not just me on this particular mooring. It’s our world. It’s our unending inboxes. A polarized 24-hour news cycle. It’s the worry from the numerous stressors we still face as a global population. As we continue to look at the alarming data about women in the workplace. About the toll this pandemic has taken on people of color. As we continue to operate in crisis mode, even while we look for signs of hope.
Across Together We Grow’s membership, each of us has been doing a lot of listening this past year. With our employees. Our students. Our coworkers. We’re seeking to understand how this past year, these past 400 years, have impacted each of us in different ways. We are seeking to understand one another — to truly listen — so that we can weave our narratives together to create a shared future.
This message was included in Together We Grow’s March newsletter. Subscribe to the monthly newsletter.