Listen Up

I’m at a park in West Hollywood with my son.

Kids are hopping on and off of bikes, throwing sand, making body sandwiches on the slides. Yelling. Parents are hopping on and off cell phones, texting while pushing swings, spying (behind Raybans) each other’s post-baby bodies. Yelling. Over on one of the picnic tables I notice two people sitting across from each other smiling and deeply engaged in conversation. What? In stark contrast to their surroundings they were actually (and wonderfully) absorbed with listening to each other. They were speaking in sign language. Seeing these two friends made me think, why can’t we all listen like deaf people?  They look with dedication into each other’s eyes and watch the hand gestures, the symbols, the signals – they are completely immersed in what is being communicated, what is being said.  They don’t have to hear what you are saying, they are LISTENING.  It’s so easy to be distracted by all of the happenings in our multi-tasking lives that it seems to be more the exception than the norm to dedicate time and effort to pay attention and listen to each other with full intent.  To listen the way deaf people listen.

© Jennifer Dowd 

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