Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Listening Ears

I think Ashlee said is best when she said there is a reason we have one mouth and two ears!
When I was in elementary school I was a Peer Mediator and in order to be able to help others we had to listen. I mean it is an obvious requirement. Without listening we couldn't hear each side of the story. If we couldn't hear each side of the story, how could we guide them to a resolution?

If we do not listen to other people's stories, how can we learn more about the world? Everyone has their own perspective on politics, social issues, and even the things we learn in school. Everyone perceives things differently and if you don't listen to them, you won't be able to learn from them. That story you hear may help solve a social injustice, even if you or the person telling the story is not a victim.

As for stories of my own?
Since I'm only nineteen, it is hard to find stories in my repertoire than can sum up my entire life. I'm still young and I'm growing everyday as a person, so something that would sum up my life would be changing with my personality all the time. So as of right now, that story is difficult to express. However, a couple stories that have shaped my view on the world as well as community involvement would have to be my experiences on Skid Row and at Arizona Girls State.

When I went with my church on a trip to Skid Row, Compton, Yosemite, and yes, even a homeless shelter in downtown Phoenix, my Pastor told us it would be life changing. And it was! The thing that I remember the most is being split up into groups and put out on Skid Row to find our way home by ourselves. In that day, we met a man who was once successful. With a few wrong choices, we was on the street, struggling to survive. It made me realize that anyone could be there, even me. That scared me out of my mind, but made me gain a lot of respect for those on the streets. I then realized how difficult it was for them and wanted to help them any way I could. It also made me realize how much is going on outside of my little world in Phoenix. Teenagers normally think in very concrete terms, only thinking about their world at home, however, it is experiences like this that help them think in abstract terms and change there view of the world.

As an Arizona Girls State participant, I experienced what it took to run a city and state. I was a citizen and no one could change that. I was responsible for making changes, motioning better laws to help our city and state run smoothly. This experience showed me how to be a better citizen and how it was possible to be involved, even if you are only seventeen. Some of the girls who then got elected to go to National, even got the opportunity to present their bill to real legislators. Who knows, maybe one day these bills will get passed. This just proves that you can make a difference at any age, just like Leob's book discusses in his book.


Dr. V said...

Alyssa,95% of the US is probably 1 paycheck away from living on the street.When I first starting volunteering with St. Vincent de Paul, I found out that many of the homeless don't consider themselves homeless because they live in their cars or on someone's couch. Also, that some homeless were very successful business people who got fired or had a life changing event.

Enrique Cardon said...

Listening is quite the important quality, even if some people do talk too much...
And even though you are young, I am sure that the stories of your life, are shaping up to be quite interesting! Plus if skid row can make such a difference in your life, then your listening skills must be amazing!