Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t
This quote can be interpreted in a number of different ways, but here are two that particularly resonate with me.
Firstly, a conversation is a two-way street that involves both speaking and listening. You never know when someone come up with an important piece of information if you are willing to give them the opportunity to speak and listen to them with an open mind. Sometimes we’re so preoccupied with saying our piece that we forget to listen. Or we’re so convinced that the other party has nothing valuable to contribute that we miss out on what they have to offer.
As a father with young children, that’s a trap I’m particularly mindful of. My kids never cease to amaze me with their knowledge and the sharpness of their observations. I just need to make the time to listen to them and not assume I know best.
Secondly, there is no better way to gain a more rounded knowledge of something than to actively seek out the opinions of others. It’s easy to get caught up in our narrow view of the world, but the greater the number of experiences and viewpoints we can gather on a subject, the more likely we are to find better – or at least different – ways to do things.
This is one of the things I love most about being part of the parent blogging community. Every parent and every child is different and there is never one ‘right’ way to do things. But by taking in other people’s experiences – and sharing my own with them – it opens me up to new possibilities and new ways of approaching parenting problems.
Ultimately, this quote reminds us that open-mindedness is a valuable trait. We may not agree with what other people have to say but we would be foolish not to at least listen to see if we can learn something from them. And yet it’s amazing how many people you come across who seem to think that it’s their way or the highway …