The World Has Been Screaming…Have You Been Listening?
Maybe I’m alone, but this summer has left my ears ringing and heart broken. Since the middle of June, our species (yes that’s one thing we have in common) has raised its’ “Violent Voice” and SCREAMED into reality horrible acts of violence like the Orlando massacre, Istanbul bombing, and the senseless killings around the United States…which oddly enough made people SCREAM LOUDER!
You can open Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social media platform and you’ll find people “screaming” about every topic under the sun. Post after post, share after share, they want their voices to be heard. But all too often, when people have chosen to engage in what should be a constructive dialogue, the level of their “voices” quickly rises and “screaming” ensues. So for me, rather than engage in a behavior that would alienate others, I did what I know works…
I opened my ears and mind while staying silent.
As I listened and watched from the sidelines, it’s been disheartening to see people muting, de-friending, and blocking their connections, friends, and even family members. What were once platforms where people could stay connected, exchange ideas and opinions, and find enjoyment has turned into a verbal battlefield where people act like it’s kill or be killed.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is a time for “screaming” and I have done it in my life. I did it as a child, when I was in the military, as an athletic coach, and during emergencies when attempting to help others reach safety. At one of the lowest moments in my life, I was a total (you know what) and regularly “screamed” at my wife. Fortunately, I changed and learned to be silent…which is what I believe saved our marriage.
The truth is, people want to be heard---and many people want to hear what you have to say...but they don't want to be "screamed" at! They want to know their voice is valued, and that what they believe regarding subjects like race, gender, religion, or politics matters. Once someone realizes their voice is being heard, it’s funny…they usually stop “SCREAMING.” But, to make that happen, we must first be silent and listen. If we’ll do that, we might find that the person we are communicating with has something truly valuable to offer the world.
So I have to ask, “Have you been SCREAMING or listening?”