Listen, my children | Mark’s Remarks


When kids get into my class, I don’t allow them to raise their hands while I’m talking. When their hands go up, they stop listening, and I try to teach students to be active listeners first.  

Almost always, I will stop after a few minutes and ask for questions or input.  

Every once in a while, a kid will forget the new rule of the crabby teacher and raise his/her hand while I’m talking. I usually ask them to put their hands down until I’m finished.

Afterwards,  I will check back with them.

“You already answered my question,” is almost always the reply.

Listening is hard. It’s because we are selfish.  We think of ourselves too much, especially how little we are interested in others and how much we value what is going on inside our own heads. How many times have you talked to someone who said “Uh huh” and you knew they just weren’t listening? Or how about the person who obviously is waiting for you to finish so they can talk about themselves?

Have you ever wondered what these uncertain times would be like if we actually stopped and listened to one another? Furthermore, what if we just accepted what the other person said and that was that?

People have asked me often why I don’t talk too much about politics. I’ve told you before that I don’t feel sharp enough to offer much of an opinion.  However, I will tell you I know what political folks stand for, usually. I try to find out the truth – which is just about as hard as listening itself.  

I’m not happy about how people have been bullied into things in the past few years. It’s not fair that many of us have been stifled for fear of getting into a scuffle. Why can’t we post an opinion on Facebook? Because people really don’t want to listen to what you think unless you agree with them.

I know which issues I stand firm on, and I know there are some candidates I would vote for but not necessarily want to be friends with.  

Are you hearing me?

I think the election of a woman to a higher office has been a long time coming and is long overdue. I think it’s great that women are coming to the forefront, finally. However, I will tell you I do not feel that all women who are in politics are role models for my daughters and I’m certainly not going to tout them as such.

If you look at the issues some of these women have flip-flopped on and some of the things they’ve done and said to get where they are, you won’t want the girls in your life to look up to these women. 

Do I want my daughters to think they can do just about anything? Sure. But I don’t want them getting there without integrity and truth.

I don’t care if the lady or ladies in question are labeled as “bad-asses.”  I don’t need to raise my daughter to be a “bad ass.”  

Strong? Independent?  Highly capable? Yes, for sure.

Did you hear what I said?

If there’s nothing behind claims of voter fraud or any sort of wrongdoing, why were there so many questionable things going on? Why were there parties in both political camps ready to throw a fit for even a small discrepancy? If there is nothing to hide or nothing going on, why so much secrecy and talking out of both sides of the mouth?

The folks in question aren’t simply refusing to listen; they are either ignoring it or taking a glib attitude. Now they’ve gotten what they want, they want us all to work together and embrace one another.  

Nevermind that many of us felt ostracized and bullied a minute ago; it’s time to come together. They won’t listen to our complaints or our claims of wrongdoing.

I have questions. I’ve listened to both sides. I still wonder.

We are especially not good listeners when it comes to being told what to do. We are given guidelines. Schools follow the guidelines. However, others don’t. We don’t social distance. We don’t wash our hands. We don’t refrain from large gatherings.  We don’t tell our kids the word “No” when they want to bend the rules. 

Do you hear me?

We end up bringing this virus right back to the very place that is following the guidelines.

Listening begins when someone threatens our way of doing things. Suddenly, we hear that drastic steps may be taken soon to help squelch what is going on with this pandemic.

Wait a minute?  Will my life now be inconvenienced? Will I now be uncomfortable and put upon?  

Isn’t it funny we start listening when our own personal comfort is threatened?

Alright boys and girls, I’m finished. Does anyone have any questions?

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