Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A conversation

"Whatcha readin'?" She asked,kicking off Her sneakers and settling onto the chair across the room from me.

I tried in as simple and brief a manner as possible to explain that the book was about the "invention" of time. The concept of hours, minutes, etc.

She nodded, maybe caring, maybe not.

I read on for a few more minutes. Then I put the book away. I remembered what I had realized long ago -- every person is a story and while I could read my paper and ink book any time, far more precious is the story that one draws out from a living, breathing person in your presence.

It takes more work, granted. You have to actually listen. Come up with questions.

Already this evening I had had an unexpected, lengthy, but enjoyable conversation with a man I know as a colleague and acquaintance. Now, I thought, why not do the same with this almost-teen whom I know as an acquaintance at my church? We were both stuck in this room waiting on family members to finish with meetings.

She opened up unto me Her seventh grade world -- a world of teachers gruff and kind, of constant social jockeying, and of those notorious mean Girls that mystify guys like me who with all our might and mind want to believe that Girls just can't be like that.

"I'm not scared of 'em," She said. "If they hit me, I hit back. It's just a reflex. If they spread a rumor about me, I confront 'em."

"My Mom says, 'You won't get in trouble with me if you come home suspended for fighting -- if you didn't start it.'"

How quickly we forget, how hard it is to be a child!

1 comment:

...amarpreet said...

Listening to a child sometimes is the best remedy for the day. When you hear the honesty and simplicity in their words it makes you think about how some things aren't as complicated as we adults make them out to be.