Listen Even When You’d Rather Not!

Sunset 1 – June 27th OBX
Sunset 2 – June 27th OBX

We were on our last day at OBX North Carolina getting some beautiful pictures of the sunset (see above). My son and his two friends had joined the fun for a few parting pics. When we were done, a gentleman, who was with his wife on the pier asked if they were all my kids. What followed should give us all pause and maybe a little hope!

For about the next 45 minutes or so, he and I had a conversation, some might say a heated one. Personally, I didn’t think it was. But more like two boxers spending an entire fight trying to land a punch, and neither one ever hitting the other one really hard. The funny thing is I’m still not sure how it got started. Maybe he saw in me, a person who loves to talk (I do) or a person who would listen (I’d like to think I do), or maybe it was just to vent. In either case, when we finally parted with goodbyes, those around me said, “Craig, how the heck did you have a conversation with that guy?” I responded, “look, he just started talking. I could have just walked away politely. But I was curious about his views, and once he gave them, it was my turn to share mine.”

I won’t delve into his strong worldly positions, but to just say they were the polar opposite of mine. I got the sense that his purpose was to convince me to see his perspective. Maybe mine was the same. What I was really hoping we could do was to “please listen” to one another without attacking the person who was speaking. Mission accomplished!

While this was going on, I’m guessing that others heard our conversation and likely grimaced at some of the dialogue depending on their own views of the world. He mentioned on more than one occasion, “Craig, it’s really great talking to you! I know we don’t see eye to eye on much of anything, but at least we can have a civil conversation!” I replied, “I agree! I love that we can at least listen to each other, even if our views seem to be different.”

The conversation helped me to see what is lacking in much of our daily lives; the ability to listen with intention. No matter our views on the world, politics, social reforms, and other issues, it’s imperative that we have open ears to at least hear what others might have to say. Disagreements will surely exist when we step out of our own little box of comfort. Especially when those individuals see and hear the same things that we do, but have a vastly different perspective. That should be okay as long as a willingness to hear another person is about changing our world for the better.

I’m not sure what he and his wife spoke about when they walked away. Quite possibly, it was that my views were crazy! Again, that’s perfectly okay, because my group thought his views were crazy! What was important to both of us according to our parting words, was that we had a spirited conversation. We listened, didn’t interrupt, and smiled often. If that’s what it takes to start making our world a little more tolerant I’m all in! I hope you are as well! Thanks again for reading, and I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful day!

Craig Shapiro


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