I’ve heard it observed many times that our texting culture no longer knows how to write.
And, as a hiring manager, I’ve seen way too many examples of this in resumes, cover letters and work that’s been handed to me. It is stunning, and problematic, that the next generation appears to be unable to write their thoughts with any coherence.
But only recently, I’ve come to realize that this is partly due to the fact that people no longer know how to listen, either.
The ability to listen is absolutely crucial to the future of this country. You can’t learn without listening. You can’t think critically unless you are hearing and understanding the words of others.
And hearing the words of others isn’t necessarily enough. You have to consider the context and the origin of the words.
I watched Rush Limbaugh’s now famous CPAC speech last Saturday. What impressed me most about it is that he generally left behind his mock arrogance and insistence on assigning evil motivations to liberals.
Instead, he gave, what I considered to be, a heartfelt definition of conservatism and why it promotes greatness in all people. He explained it, to the nation, in a way that it has never been explained before.
And to hear the media report what he said is stunning to me. None of what I hear reported actually came from that speech. As is usually the case with Limbaugh, you need to listen to the sum of his words. He is very hard to excerpt, which I think hurts him greatly.
But listening also requires courage. It requires the courage to suspend, just for a moment, your own beliefs, get your head in the mindset of those who believe in him, and consider what he’s actually saying. Explore his ideas and thoughts and test them out. Play with them a bit.
In the end, you may conclude he’s wrong… and that’s fine. But I am not at all convinced our nation has the ability to listen and consider anymore.
I would say the exact same thing for people listening to Obama. I don’t think anyone is truly listening to the entirety of his words and considering what they truly mean.
I fear this is going to cost us all.