Listening to Learn

Listen to Learn

“Learning is a result of listening, which in turn leads to even better listening and attentiveness to the other person.  In other words, to learn from the child, we much have empathy, and empathy grows as we learn.”

Alice Miller, Polish Psychologist and World Renowned Author


The study of language begins before we utter a single word. We learn to speak by listening. It is the first step in our education.

We relied on others to give us our voice.  And from that moment, we were well on our way to expressing and articulating our needs and desires.  Sometimes with strident persistence and at other times, with calm assurance or anxious concern.

Time serves as a formidable obstacle.  With only so many hours in a day and a fixed supply of energy, we are limited by our finite existence.  This is when we must be selective and chose those conversations that inspire and challenge us to live bold lives.  Listen to hear the heartbeat of the universe.

The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.”

Rabindranath Tagore.


Published by Rebecca Budd

Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

24 thoughts on “Listening to Learn

  1. I love that you have so many inspiring quotes. Sometimes I like to sit quietly to listen to the heartbeat of the universe or simply listen to the quiet sounds of the day. Sometimes I try to listen for silence but that is very hard. I am not sure what silence is for even silence seems to have sound. Sometimes I will cover my ears to try and understand what it is like for my mother who is now very deaf. Even deafness seems noisy. You have chosen such an interesting subject this week.


    1. Und wir haben eine riesige Platzregen von regen in Vancouver. Ich genieße eine heiße Tasse Tee und alles ist gut. Vielen Dank für Ihre Kommentare und zum Anhalten für einen Besuch.


  2. Truly beautiful post. My antsy heart finds solace in Tagore’s mystical and magical poetry. His Nobel prize acceptance speech is an eye-opener. A spiritual and creative soul, he had the foresight to see centuries ahead of his time.


    1. I am just discovering how remarkabe Tagore’s thoughts and ideas are! When my father died just over a year ago, I found this quote to be a profound comfort. “Death is not extinguishing the light, it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come.”


      1. Our dear Winston Churchill once said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” And you, my dear friend, have copious amounts of courage.


      2. Interesting. You should make that a mission.
        Unfortunately I have no access beyond 3 generations in my family. I spent 2 months, recording interviews with my relatives on a dicta phone.
        Summed up eventually –
        It will take tracing your ancestors to figure what makes you, YOU. We have inherited not just physical features but also unique characteristics.Importantly, we are living our ancestor’s unfulfilled desires, not to be misconstrued as personal ambitions born out of our imagination. To derive : I am not a rebel or outcast in the family as labeled. No one is


      3. Insightful, Arjun. We are always moving forward, yet it is our past that gives us our momentum.

        “A man’s life is a circle from childhood to childhood, and thus it is in everything where the power moves.” Black Elk, Lakota


  3. Thanks for this, Rebecca. It’s certainly topical for me at the moment.

    I have been learning French for more years than I care to remember and have always found the speaking and listening the hardest skills to master. I was interested to read that the way we learn a second language is the same as the way in which we master our mother tongue and so it should be no surprise to learn that listening, listening, listening, will always precede the acquisition of speaking skills.

    Those of us who get frustrated at our slowness to learn to speak a second language would do well to remember that the key to improvement will always be in listening, listening, listening. It’s just the same with my nearly three year old grandson. We all said he was slow to speak, but he has been listening and learning all the time and now, magically, not just the words but the sentences are spilling out!!

    Wonderful isn’t it?

    A happy St Davids Day to you from Wales.


    1. I truly appreciate your wonderful contribution to the dialogue. I did not know about St. David’s Day. I looked him up and discovered that St David is the patron saint of Wales. He plays a very important role in Welsh culture but little is known about his life. Thank you so much for wishing me a happy St. David’s Day – it made the whole day sunshine (even though we are experience a huge rainfall) I have marked it now on my calendar!

      Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.

      — Saint David of Wales


      1. What a wonderful quote from St David of Wales. We went to the Parade through Cardiff yesterday and I was surprised to see, along with the world famous red dragon flag, masses of black flags with a gold cross. It actually looked quite sinister!! But a lady next to me said the black and gold flag was the flag of St David. Apparently black and gold represent the two primary colours of Wales, gold for the golden flowers, including the wonderful daffodil, and black for the coal!

        I didn’t know that either but she assured me that she was actually from St Davids, a beautiful tiny city on the western edge of Wales, which is named after the Saint. So she should know!!


  4. To learn from a child–an excellent observation. Among many other things, a child can teach us the art of listening. How does a child learn to speak, by listening, of course. That is not the only thing a child can teach us–shall I go on?


  5. Very well said – we definitely need to choose what we listen to whether it be conversations with friends and family, TV and radio, and even reading too. Because what goes in, surely must come back out!! 😀


    1. I agree – what we hear does indeed shape our worldview. I especially like when you said, “what goes in, surely must come back out!!”


  6. “Learning is a result of listening, which in turn leads to even better listening and attentiveness to the other person. In other words, to learn from the child, we much have empathy, and empathy grows as we learn.”

    In my work this past summer with 7 high school aged youth in their first job experience, I had to learn how to effectively communicate with them.
    Their listening pattern consisted primarily of twitters, blips and tweets; brief packets of input was all they could absorb. Anything longer than a single sentence and attention began to drift, the concept of an auditory paragraph unknown.
    I learned to break my verbiage into smaller packets, they learned to read visual cues during pauses in transmission.
    Their favorite song was “Call Me… Maybe”, sung gleefully and in passable harmony from the back of the van; rising in crescendo as they read the visual cue of my rolling eyes in the rear view mirror.
    Thank you all for bearing up with my hyperbole here, I’m in recovery… 🙂


    1. How interesting – you had an remarkable adventure. Thank you for sharing your insights. This is something that I have been thinking about for quite some time and you have given me something more to add to my thoughts. How do we communicate hope, love compassion through generational shifts, technological advances and marketing messages? Hmmmmm 🙂


      1. Humour helps:
        The funniest of all was separating the two in the back who were becoming to fond(ling) of each other, one brought up front, the other left back. Watching them begin furiously texting each other about the mean old boss (me), I couldn’t contain my laughter. Soon the whole crew, subjects included, were shrieking with laughter.


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