At my current school we have chapel once each week. The entire high school gathers for music, prayer, meditation, readings, and a sermon.
During today’s sermon, it struck me what a profound opportunity it is to have an audience, people giving the gift of their attention, their thoughtfulness, and their listening. It’s a profound opportunity to expect people to open themselves up with curiosity to be moved or touched by our words and being.
Teachers engage with several audiences each day in the classroom. Most people, in fact, engage with audiences throughout the day - even one-on-one conversations are an audience of one.
Whether we have an audience of a school with 400 people, a classroom of 15-30 people, or a conversation with just one person, engaging with others will forever be a profound opportunity.
And we often squander that opportunity. We’re intent on sounding knowledgeable, looking good, or being cool. We’re working to get someone to agree with our perspective, to validate our view, to meet our expectations. We’re proving something to others, proving something to ourselves, or trying to make someone else proud. Maybe we’re just trying to “make it” through the moment, the hour, the day, or the week.
All the while, we’re distracting ourselves from the profound opportunity at hand.
The opportunity to connect, to love, and to appreciate. The opportunity to open, to grow, and to be touched. The opportunity to awaken, to express ourselves authentically, and to be fulfilled.
When all else is put aside, what a profound opportunity it is to engage soul to soul with anyone else.
I listened to a recording this evening of a coach I look up to, and he said something along the lines of this: “My wife and I don’t argue. We realized that it’s something we don’t want to do, so we stopped doing it.”
To turn that statement around just a little bit: What’s something you want for your communication with others? What's something you'd like to be in your communication? What’s an intention worthy of someone else’s time, attention, and curiosity?
Perhaps it’s to be open and curious. Maybe it’s to enjoy the interaction and grow from it. Maybe it’s honest communication, self-expression, and creativity. Maybe it’s to bring appreciation and honor.
Whatever it is that calls to you, I recommend that you intentionally bring something into your interactions with others. The opportunity to engage with another is profound, so wouldn’t it be pretty great to experience it that way?
I am deeply grateful for your time, attention, and curiosity. Thank you for being my audience, and thank you for allowing the spirit of my message to move you in whatever way it moves you. Have a beautiful day. ❤️
The only reason to give a speech is to change the world. - JFK