Last week, I (Jendi) had the opportunity to travel to South Africa with the Cairn University Urban Ministry students. It is always an incredible experience to travel and see new places, but traveling with this group challenged me and made me see life in a beautiful way. You see, the students in this program aren’t just taught about urban communities and the complex systems that exist within these communities but they learn how to enter into another person’s life and suffering; they learn how important each person’s story is.
It’s about faces, names, and stories. Each face has a name and each name carries a story. A story that is unique to them and only they can tell it. Taking the time to meet people, remember their name and hearing their story can have a profound impact. It’s what connects us and enables us to see the world from their perspective.
You can travel, live all over the world, and experience beautiful places, but if you don’t take the time to learn the names of the people you meet and hear their story then you are missing out. And this goes for our day-to-day life as well. I am guilty of this. The faces I see every day…I know their name, but in most cases I only know a small portion of their story or none at all. Am I taking the time to hear them and their story?
Listening to others gives them value. Listening shows them their voice matter. Listening shows them they matter
So whether you find yourself in South Africa (or any part of the world) or at a job that you have been at for 10 years I hope that you will consider faces, names, and stories of those around you. Don’t just know people by name, but listen to their story, journey with them.