In one of our online class discussions, I ask students the same question Mary Pipher poses in her chapter “What You Alone Can Say” from her book Writing to Change the World. She asks, “What do you most respect in others?”
The answers surprised me in many ways. I suppose I thought I’d only read about honesty or keeping your word or even punctuality. Maybe I wasn’t sure what I would read.
But I discovered this: What students overall respect most in others include discipline and listening skills. These answers made me think about a cultural moment in which living a disciplined life–and all that entails– might seem harder and harder with the temptation to binge watch shows or spend all day on social media. Perhaps the disciplined life now shines through. I also realized how rare it is to find a truly good listener. We experience so much spouting of opinions on social media but not so much genuine listening. I think these students experience this more and more.
I respect most in others humility and curiosity. I love being with people who know they don’t know everything (and that they aren’t God). I love being with people who have a truly curious heart and ask questions about the people and world around them.