Listening is perhaps one of the most intrinsic qualities a person can have. Time and time again, it has been said, most successful people have learned the indispensable quality of listening. But more important than success, more ears are needed in today’s world than mouths. An unprecedented number of people are in need of a listening ear. I am reminded every day of the harsh reality of life for many people. Almost daily, someone tells me of the struggle they or someone close to them is personally enduring.

As humans, it is natural for us to only consider our trials and never stop to give attention and love to our neighbor. We are living in a world that is destitute of direction, love and wisdom. Over the past century, values have changed and as a result, people have changed. From what I have been able to piece together from old stories told by older generations, people genuinely cared about the well-being of others. Most notably, people of yesteryear listened.

In most instances during today’s society, we only listen if gossip is being passed around. We must learn to discipline ourselves to turn a deaf ear to gossip and an attentive ear to people around us who are in desperate need of care and love. I must admit, I find it hard at times to stop and consider the plight of those around me. I oftentimes become too consumed with the nonimportant circumstances of my life. Each of us must learn to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of work and personal agendas, and seek out someone who is need of an encouraging word and helping hand.

There is nothing more rewarding in life than giving of oneself to put a smile on someone else’s face. It costs nothing to stop for a few seconds and listen to someone who needs to vent about life. Your patience and generosity may, in fact, save someone’s life. It bothers me many times, when I stop and think of the people who took their lives. Most of these people probably felt as if no one cared or if anyone even noticed the pain they were enduring.

As a community and individually, we should make a pledge to lend an ear to someone we know who is in need of love. Many people resort to drugs and destructive lifestyles as a means of calling for help and ignoring the pain they grapple with everyday. The senseless violence, domestic abuse and horror stories plastered on news stations can and must be prevented. There is a solution to the pain of this world. That solution lies in your listening skills. Another life being saved from a self-inflicted gunshot wound lies in your ability to stop living in a me-centered universe and listen to someone else’s problems.

The next time you are pressed to be selfish and neglect your brother or sister, remember to listen. It only takes a small amount of patience and a heart big enough to recognize the magnitude of the service being rendered. Let’s do it, St. Helena. Listen.

Contact Jasper Knighten at jasperknighten@yahoo.com.