Bishop Burbidge responded to the recent national and state election with these words: “(R)egardless of who received our vote, now is the time to be reminded that the strength of our republic lies in our unity as fellow citizens and members of God’s holy family. Such relationships are the bedrock of our society and it is our sacred duty to foster them so that nothing divides us. When we live in such harmony, there will be true dialogue and the exchange of ideas will occur in a civil and respectful manner.”
Let's pause over the words, “civil and respectful manner." This applies to everyone -- to friends and people we know well and enjoy, but also to people we don't know well or with whom we might not have strong or close ties.
I recently met with the 7th grade and spoke with them about listening skills. They filled out a self-evaluation on how they listen to others, listen to directions, and whether they listen well.
The students also participated in an activity where their partner actively listened as they told a story and then also when the partner didn’t actively listen well to their story.
The students were able to tell me that when they received eye contact they felt like they were being heard -- and it spurred them to share more of their story. The times when the receiving student purposefully looked away, the storyteller felt as if they didn’t matter and, as a result, they didn’t want to keep talking.
Both scenarios happen every day. There are times when one student disrespects another student by ignoring their thoughts or their presence in the room. It is one thing to be taught about respect, and it is another to demonstrate being respectful to others. Listening is a manifestation of respect.