One time I was in a van full of people with my rowdy cousins, my mom and grandma. I remember my mom driving and my grandma sitting in the passenger seat next to her. They were talking about something and my cousins and I were in the back, being loud and being kids. I was in the middle section in the middle seat, and something my mom and grandma were talking about caught my attention. I listened, then asked a question. It was not supposed to be something I was privy to, and my grandma sharply reprimanded me and told me my Indian name should be little big ears.
I often don’t live up to that name, I’m more of a talker than a listener. And I have the bad, and rude, habit of interrupting people to voice my opinions.
But I do sometimes listen. Mostly when I’m not supposed to be, but occasionally I do. And when I shut up and listen I tend to learn stuff. I think most people have interesting stories to tell, but they are to shy to just tell everyone. Maybe what they have to share is unimportant. Maybe it’s just everyday gossip. But sometimes what doesn’t seem important is something you need to hear. Even if you don’t realize it till years later.
For example, I am not obsessed with gardening or flowers. I think roses are pretty, they smell good, and occasionally I take time to enjoy them. But I do not have a garden and I only know a handful of flower names. One day I was out in the country with my friend Dyanne and we were talking and she happened to say, “See that? Do you know what they are called?” I shook my head and she said, “Bachelor Buttons.” I smiled and commented on how I thought the name was cute. We moved on to a different subject and for the most part I thought that memory had been laid aside and forgotten.
Till one day I was with someone else and I saw those flowers. I asked them if they knew what they were called and they said no. I was proud all of a sudden to be able to say, “Those are Bachelor Buttons.” I have probably pointed these flowers out to at least five people now, and every single time I’m glad that I had listened to Dyanne and had learned something.