Listening as part of healing is more than hearing the words someone says...
I've been thinking about my students, thinking about myself, thinking about family, thinking about my coworkers, thinking about America, and thinking about the Black Lives Matter movement and I'm drawn back over and over to the idea that we can only hear the words, viewpoints, experiences of others through the filter of our own beliefs and experiences.
Students can not separate the relationship they have with their teacher from what is being taught. Coworkers cannot help but filter their relationship to their job and their boss to their conversations with coworkers. Family cannot separate their lifetime of experiences together from the conversations they have with each other. And we, as Americans, cannot separate our history, both as a nation, and our own personal histories, from our individual perceptions of the realities and conversations on race.
How then can we even hope to dialogue successfully without first taking the time to listen, recognize, empathize, and accept as valid the experiences and lives of the speaker and address their needs- be it for acceptance, for agency, for voice, for empathy, or just someone to sit and listen without judgement or doubt?