Listen

Sometimes things are not as they seem.

When I was 3 years old we lived in an apartment building in Brooklyn. In the morning, after my older sister left for school, Mom and I would go to the laundry mat together.  Mom would sort the dark clothes from lights, towels from socks as I wandered around the washers and dryers singing silly little songs

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The owner of the establishment was a kind man and had been there for years. He often spoke with me and I remember feeling very comfortable around him.  One day he asked me if I wanted to see something special. I ran back to my mother and excitedly asked, “Mom, can I go and play with the man’s organ?”

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Mom froze as time seemed to stop. Mom didn’t answer right away.  She gathered her wits, calmly took my hand and gently said, “Show me what you mean. Take me to this man.”

The look on my mother’s face spoke volumes as we stood before the laundry mat owner. She asked me to repeat my request made moments before.  The man’s face immediately relaxed showing a feeling of understanding as he led both of us to the back room.

Being the manager required spending long hours in the building sometimes with nothing to do. He had a small church organ in his office. Playing music while the washers washed and the dryers dried made time fly by and gave him ample opportunity to practice.  He only wanted to show me the organ and for both of us to enjoy the music he played.

How often have I jumped to wrong conclusions? How many times have I misinterpreted statements and not allowed someone to explain themselves?  Why do I choose not to listen but instead fashion my response while someone attempts to defend their actions?

Mom did it right. She listened to me, asked me to show her what I meant, and then she listened as the laundry mat owner explained himself.

I am grateful for my mom and the many examples of goodness she showed me. I pray that I can do likewise and to teach my children to do the same.

 

listen

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