Monday Meditation: On The Listening Project

What I love about the listening project is that we are taking ownership in the beginning steps of effecting change in the community. We haven’t actually met anyone from the community that we are serving yet; everything that we are doing is behind the scenes. It is unlike any service that I have done before but I think it is getting at what service is really meant to be about. Although we may be growing from this experience and learning from each other through the process, we are really trying to do what is best for the community without being preoccupied by our own agenda. -Olivia M.

Being apart of the tLP has been inspiring. We’re able to be with people who want to make an impact on the community in Omaha. This project will work and continue to progress with the new generations of Cortina to come. We hope to one day look back on inCommon’s Park Avenue community and be proud of what we see. But this isn’t just a one time application of listening. It should be everyone’s goal at the beginning of Cortina to become a better listener and utilize these newfound skills to become more active off of Creighton’s campus. I encourage anyone who is interested in this sort of service to join this project and make a difference. -Ray S.

As a white, straight, Christian male, I pretty much constantly second-guess every action I take that has to do with “doing something for others.” I always question if I am selflessly serving or if I am just using my unearned power to help people and make myself feel good. When I learned the listening project was run largely by white, straight, Christian males, I immediately feared it would be another example of those in power telling others what they needed. I have never been so happy to be wrong. The listening project defies every stereotype of the imperialistic, ignorant “helper.” Calvin and his team refuse to tell the Park Avenue community what they need, and they refuse to stop asking. The new community development center is going to be focused entirely by members of the community. Working with the Listening Project has shown me that I really can serve others without fear of being pious or imperialistic. -Westin M.

Being a senior and having done service with many organizations throughout my four years, there has never been a time when I felt like my service could really make a difference for a community. (That’s not to undersell my other experiences, because I do think that the relationships I have built have been transformative – hopefully on both ends). By participating in tLP, I think we are really, and hopefully, going to help inCOMMON better serve the people of the Park Avenue neighborhood by getting to know them. Over the past few months, in anticipation of graduation, I have been thinking about what a community center would look like if I were able to participate in the creation from the get-go. But, when Calvin explained the vision of the Park Avenue Commons, I got to hear and see the plans for so many of the dreams I had for a community center. I really feel like I am participating in something that will change a community for the better. -Elizabeth S.

You guys get what tLP is all about now, but something I realized tonight in community time is how applicable this project is to our daily lives. I know I have experienced the frustration of not feeling listened to or valued. Learning some tools on how to better my own listening abilities gives me hope that we can have better dialogue. I thought it was inevitable, people won’t listen; in retaliation, I would refuse to listen to them. Let me tell you I have made and kept lots of friends that way! In case you couldn’t detect my intense sarcasm, this type of scenario never helped any of my relationships. I can honestly say that by employing the type of empathetic, engaged, and, as Nico so eloquently put it, active listening we can begin to really hear people and change our attitudes, views, and, potentially, our lives. -Madi F.

In what ways can you deepen the listening in your own life? What resources lie just behind a door down the hall? How will you know? How often do you find yourself asking open-ended questions and really caring about the answer? How can you develop a posture of interest? How will that benefit you and the community?

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