Last Thursday during our professional development time, the Roycemore faculty participated in a webinar offered by the Independent School Association of Central States (ISACS) on “Tools for Having Courageous Conversations Around Race, Culture & Beliefs” by Homa Tavanger.  The webinar was one of several activities that the faculty are participating in this year as part of our commitment to support diversity, equity, and inclusion at Roycemore. We will be continuing this work during our February Professional Development day, organized by our faculty diversity committee.

One of the strategies highlighted by Tavanger in the webinar is “listen when it is hard.”   I thought about just what good advice this is whether the topic is diversity and inclusion, or practically anything.  Listening is practiced far too little in our society today, however, we can learn so much just by listening. We should listen when it is hard, AND when it isn’t.  

Listening opens up space for understanding.

Listening offers an opportunity to empathize.

Listening helps us to be less judgmental.

Listening is loving.

When my daughter was in high school and going through a difficult time I worried so much about her.  I wanted to know what was going on in her head. I wanted to be sure she was okay. I asked too many questions with the angst of a mom who was worried.  My husband, her very wise step-father, suggested that I stop asking questions. He said, “Honey, I know it is hard, but she will share when she is ready.”  This was unbelievably difficult. I was ready to talk! Surely she must be too. But my ready wasn’t her ready. Eventually, she was ready, and slowly–gradually, she shared what she wanted to share.  What she needed to share. We grew closer as a result. My husband was right. I needed to listen– even when it was hard.