“The earth has music for those who listen.” ― William Shakespeare
Today I dropped Cate off at her first day of preschool and my parting words as I kissed her on the forehead and hugged her small frame were, “Listen to your teachers, Cate!” As I walked around the corner I saw her trot off with her new friends and sit down to play.
I watched her play and clap during singing time and even, at her teachers request, stand confidently in front of 15 new friends head up and clearly say, “My name is Cate.”
To which Cate said without hesitation, “My mom’s shoes….wait, no, yep, my mom’s shoes.”
It was all my heart could do but melt. As everyone clapped she returned to her square on the big rug, unaware I watched and listened, her face proud, accepting a hug from a girl sitting next to her. And she was so grown up to me.
I decided I needed to start recording the life lessons I desperately want my girls to recall as they grow, as my influence gets lost among the noise they face each day. The idea of listening is a big one. But there is so much noise and so much chaos out there to hear. So, when all the noise comes at you, surrounds you saturates everything you touch what is left to hear?
I tell my girls. Listen. To the wind in the trees, the birds that greet the dawn, the songs that take your breath away, the songs that make you dance. Listen to the pitter patter the rain makes on the pavement and how your grandma laughs when you tell her a story. You’ll want to keep that one with you. Listen to the silence when you need space. Listen to the sound of your footsteps as you run, your breathing, your own heartbeat. Listen. To the rush of the waves on the shore, and the rustling of the tall grasses as you move through them.
Listen to your friends. The good ones. Don’t just hear them, don’t let their words rush past you without regard. And when all you wish to do is speak, listen first. Quiet the noise that surrounds you and just listen. Listen deliberately. Listen fully. Listen hard.
Above all, listen to your heart. The part of you that feels, that hopes, that yearns… and that is not just a part of you but is what defines you. It’s what gives you meaning. It’s why we live.
So listen. I will be.