JP - Letters to the Editor: published - 6th September 2016 - Take time to listen


Letters to the Editor: published - 6th September 2016

Take time to listen

Thirty-seven years ago, when I made aliya from England at the wonderful age of 22, I was full of hope. Now, there’s less. Much less.

I have no intention of bemoaning what we’ve lost or failed to achieve. I’m not going to cry over the spilled milk and honey that has seeped through the cracks in our scorched and “oh so holy” soil. This is not a letter to wail or lay blame.

After almost 40 years in Israel, I believe I have reached some kind of insight, possibly even enlightenment – or maybe simply a better understanding, albeit tainted by an increasingly overwhelming and uncontrollable wave of desperation and frustration – that we may have lost our way and once again are wandering in the desert.

I respectfully propose that we just stop for a second and take stock. Now would be a good time to remember the word “listen.”

The more we listen, the more we understand. The more we listen, the more we respect.

The more we listen, the more we’ll be respected.

Without any attempt to be patronizing, I would like to humbly suggest a number of ways that might be useful for improving our speaking culture (we have nothing to lose): Smile more. Let other people say their piece before cutting them off without as much as an “excuse me.” Before bursting in, breathe. Count to 15. Then listen.

Listen to peers even if you disagree.

Listen to peers even if you have no interest in any opinions other than your own. Listen to peers even when there’s no mutual respect. Listen. Listen.

Listen.

Who knows? Perhaps we’ll realize that others have something to say, too.

HOWARD BURNS
Haifa

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