Monday, February 8, 2010
Saturday night we went to hear Greg Mortensen speak about Three Cups of Tea, Stones into Schools and the experiences that led him to write both books. It was pretty amazing. While much of his talk was about education -- educating girls in particular -- a recurring theme was the importance of listening.
One story he told was about the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. About how when sometimes you think you're helping an awful lot, you're perhaps doing what you think is best, instead of asking what the person (people/country) really needs. He told about refugees receiving tents that turned out to be highly flammable when crammed with families keeping warm with fire. And he suggested that, in fact, they didn't need others to send them tents, but they sure could have used a small factory in which to make their own tents. He talked a lot about empowerment. But he also talked about how our military leaders have begun listening in Pakistan.
Follow that with yesterday's Godly Play parable about the Good Samaritan. It's such a basic story about loving your neighbor. It ends with wondering questions: I wonder who was a neighbor to the man who was hurt... I wonder who was a neighbor to the robbers... I wonder what would have happened if it had been a child who was hurt...
Bigger, better, more, faster. That's how I feel sometimes. Maybe it's time to be a better listener.