Sometimes it is hard to appreciate the beauty of the journey. Reflection and memories often bring the most impactful and enduring lessons. Role models play such a critical role in our lives. Two of my role models were my grandmothers. Ruth Atwell Tibbs, or as I knew her “Mamaw,” and Elizabeth Feather Dooley, or as I knew her “Granny Berry,” were incredible women. They could fix anything that seemed to be off in the world by simply listening. I seldom remember an immediate response to any of the scenarios in which I observed them to listen very carefully. Reflecting on the memories of Mamaw and Granny Berry brought me to several observations that I wish to share with you.
It was crystal clear that both my grandmothers were listening carefully with their ears (sense of hearing for the verbal component), eyes (sense of sight for many of the non-verbals), hearts with only the desire to understand and serve, and ultimately with their souls to gain and share selfless wisdom. Differently stated, it was clear that neither of them was focused on or worried about what their response should be, or if they even needed a response because they were fully and selflessly invested in the person or people they were listening to.
As I look around our world today, there are plenty of ways to make improvements. I am certainly no exception and am striving to simply be a better person today than I was the day before. Political, economic, social, and many other sources of unrest dominate our society, main-stream and social media. While no one solution brings a magic fix, the key to beginning and sustaining a state of improvement is listening.