nick davis; creativity

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Creativity is the lifeblood of childhood. Creativity is what helps people grow into new and phenomenal ideas. Creativity is the reason we all have personal dreams. Creativity is my Passion. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lichinga, Mozambique, I have become overly supportive of creativity. Children and teenagers in this area of Mozambique grow up with rough conditions. Working the machambas(farms), carrying water, cultural pressure to have a family by the age of 18, and many other hardships that fill up their minds. They are often forced to avoid creative thinking, because they must get everything done the way they are showed. For the first 8 months of my service, I taught a class called visual education at my high school. I was appalled to see students using rulers and compasses to draw simple things such as houses, or dogs. The children were afraid to draw something that did not have perfect lines, or perfectly curved edges. It was painful to watch as my entire class of 70 students took 15 minutes to draw a simple pencil sketch of a house. I decided that these kids needed a lesson in creativity, and an appreciation for the individuality of art. I started simple. I had to break my students’ habits of using rulers and looking for perfection. This was a habit that I broke with a series of activities. I would announce to the class that they had 5 minutes to draw a house, and at the end of the 5 minutes I was going to collect their work for a grade. After 5 minutes had passed, I quickly ran around the room and collected every single drawing as the students complained that they had not finished yet. They had been sitting drawing each line with a ruler, and erasing when they did not like the result. I then told them that we would do another grade. They had 3 minutes to draw a car. The kids started freaking out, threw their rulers down, and started drawing feverishly. It was a beauty to watch them work as I relished in my immediate success to show them how to begin taping into their creative skills. We did this activity every class before beginning our daily lesson. I was so happy to see their drawings, and to see them advancing and using their imagination to create their products. Eventually it came time to add a new activity. This one was a group activity, and they had to create their own personal monsters. In groups of 3 they would fold a paper in thirds. One would be responsible for drawing a head, the second would draw a body, and the third would draw legs and/or feet. They would go in sequence, and fold their work behind the paper so their group members would not be able to see the already completed work. After all 3, they would open the paper to revel a monster that they had created. Each time we did this, the monsters became more and more creatively different. Students began adding wings, tails, and crazy teeth. They loved this activity. As time went by, I began collecting cans of paint, brushes, and old cans in order to mix paint. I decided it was time to show my students what you can do with your creative skills. I drew up a mural design and presented it to the school. Our administration was excited and supported my idea. The next weekend, my roommate, a couple students, and I began our work. Education was still only 3 years old in my community, as the school had only been there the respected amount of time. I decided that something visual needed to be created in order to support education in the secondary school. We created a mural for the side of our school, and as we worked, people came to watch and listen to music. The progress went quickly, and after the weekend, we had finished our project. I was extremely proud, and so were my students. We all sat around and looked at the mural each day. Reading off each and every discipline and trying to compare the people we had painted to the real life people that were at our school. It is a mark that I hope lasts on the school and in my communities mind for years to come. Even though I am only a teacher for 2 years, I can only hope that the work we did leaves a mark and a reminder of creativity to all those who pass by.

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Nick Davis
Mozambique

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the online babysitting scam I just barely avoided

While I wouldn’t normally use this platform to write about an online scam, I feel that as a victim of it I should share my experience because I know plenty of my friends that use Care.com as a reputable site to find babysitting jobs. This post has nothing against Care.com, in fact it is because of a notice that they published that my dad and I realized what was going on.

I’ve been a member of care.com for a couple months and don’t use it very often because my availability isn’t very open. That being said, I’ve been contacted a couple times via text or email from people on the site about jobs, which is why when I was contacted by “Marilyn Craig” through text I didn’t think twice about it.

On July 3rd I received a text that said “Hi, I’m Marilyn from care.com. Are you available for weekend babysitting? Pay is $18/hour. Kindly send your resume to marilyn’s private email (marilyncraig005@gmail.com) for more details.” Now being a broke college kid, $18/hour pay sparked my interest right away and I replied almost immediately with an email:

Hi Marilyn,

I am available Friday through Sunday all day and then Monday through Thursday all I have is class from 10-12:30. My resume doesn’t include prior babysitting experience because I use it for my professional environment, that information is listed on my care.com profile.

I have attached my resume though in case you would still like to see it.

Thanks,

Shelby Tate Major

And then I sent a follow up text saying “I just send you an email! Look forward to hearing from you!” to which I got the reply “thank you i will reply you” (which is the first red flag, the broken english)

Marilyn responded within 30 minutes:

Thanks for replying to my text. My name is Marilyn. I recently moved
from San Diego to Phoenix with my family but i`m relocating to your
area on 24th of July and i will need a nanny for my son immediately.
His name is Joe, 6years old and the time would be from  9am to 4pm
Saturdays and Sundays only. This is a long term position but its fine
to start temporary. Some weekdays are also flexible if you are
available but we may need to discuss that in person. I`m willing to
pay 18/hour. I believe its a great pay and i`m paying that much
because i want quality care for my son. The start date is 26th of
July.I lost my husband and a 4months old baby in January. It was my
late husband`s birthday and he decided to take the kids out while i
was still at work. Joe happens to be the only survival from the
accident but he currently uses a wheelchair. I have had terrible times
in the last few months and this is one of the reasons i have decided
to move because staying here brings back some sad memories. Kindly be
honest if you have experience with childcare because i want the best
care for Joe. 

I`m hard of hearing and can only communicate via writing, reading lips or text messaging. I hope that isn`t a problem? I`m easy going and love to laugh. I can send you a picture of me and joe in my next email.It will be nice to read about you. I want a nanny who is willing to be a friend and family. Please note that i have a few applicants for this position but i made you our first choice so i wouldn’t appreciate a waste of time. Make sure to include your complete name, address including zipcode and cell phone number in your response so i could check the map to read the distance between us also to have your address on file. You may ask questions in case you have any. I await your quick response.

Thank you!

Receiving this detailed email right away made me assume that I was dealing with a very particular situation and that Marilyn was genuinely going through some hard times and needed help. Being the caring, somewhat naive, person I am, I didn’t think to question the situation, or the fact that she asked for my address. I replied with my own email about my babysitting personality, something parents often ask for when hiring a sitter online.

Thank you so much for responding so quickly and thoroughly!
On my care.com I have two locations listed, I am only in Wilmington until July 24th and then I move back to Charlotte until August 20th when I leave to go abroad.
I’m not sure what area you are moving to so I understand if this doesn’t
fit your needs. I will tell you a little about myself regardless in case it does work!

[Here is where I put my name, address, and phone number]

I’m very sorry for your loss but you sound like you’re handling it well.
I do have a lot of childcare experience with all ages but I do not have
any experience in childcare with him being in a wheelchair. If that is a
deal breaker I understand but I am very willing to learn.

I am currently a student at UNCW but I grew up in Charlotte. I am
studying recreation management with a concentration in non profit
because ultimately I want to work for non profits specializing in hunger
and education around the world. I’ve volunteered at the Boys and Girls club as well as tutoring for Cornelius Elementary while I was still in high school.
As a babysitter I really try to keep a positive and creative environment.
I’m not a particularly big fan of letting the kids I babysit just watch tv. I
like to bring arts and crafts, play games outside things like that. I really enjoy babysitting and I am still in close contact with all the families I have worked for.

I would love to see a picture of y’all! There are pictures on my Care.com site but if you would like I can send you one of myself as well.

She replied with

Thank you for your email. Here is my own address 839 Scaleybark Rd,
Charlotte, NC. We are moving in on 24th of July. The sitting could be
in our place but if you want Joe at your place, I wouldn’t have any
problem dropping him. You re free to do outdoors if you wish. I
suggest that we meet on Friday 25th before you start working and we
can talk on your schedule. That way we can get to know each other in
person and share some interest about ourselves and the babysitting
activities. As said in my previous email, the last couple of months
hasn’t been good and i wouldn’t want to get stocked with my Son on
arrival so i`m willing to make a deposit to you ahead of time to
ensure a secured appointment to avoid disappointment. The total cost
of your pay per weekend is $252($18/hour x 7hours/day = $126/day x
2days). I hope i can issue your first week deposit check with the
below information.

[Here was the information I had given before; name, address, phone number]

Kindly let me know if everything is clear so i may proceed. Also
attached is a picture of me and Joe. Do have a great day ahead and i
await your quick response.

Thank you!

I started to sense that things were a little strange. She didn’t seem to be worried that I wasn’t going to be in Charlotte long, when initially she was looking for a “long term position”. Also, the idea that someone would pay me before even meeting with me to see if I was a real person seemed strange in this day and age. I chalked it all up to she had been burned before and was frazzled by the move and continued communicating with her.

I know you said you were looking for something long term but I am leaving in August to study abroad for the semester. When I come back I will be returning to Wilmington. I would love to help you out until you find a more permanent sitter. If that works for you I can meet on the 25th!

_________________________________________________

 

Good Morning Shelby,

Thank you for your prompt response and i`m glad that we re on the samepage and we will meet around 6pm on Friday and i want you to know that you can be working with me temporary till when you want to leave the town in August and i want you to know that am sending you the first week payment to secure the job. I have made arrangement to get Joe a powered wheelchair and i got a cheaper one in Sacramento so i`m
wondering if i could have the seller deliver it to you so you can help
pay on delivery. The wheelchair cost 2523 so i will be sending you a
check to cover your first weekend deposit and the cost of the chair so
you can take out your deposit and pay the cost of the wheelchair to
the seller on delivery and we will follow you to pick the chair after
our meeting on Friday. Please understand the aim of having you
purchase the wheelchair is to ensure the wheelchair is available for
Joe on arrival. The wheelchair isn’t assembled yet. Its still packed
in pieces so its not big at all. Due to her condition, i wouldn’t want
any delay with the arrangement of the chair so you can let me know if
everything is clear.I await your email so i can proceed to mailing
your check on Next week.Happy sunday

Thank you!

After this red flags were going off right and left. I called my dad and explained the situation to him and forwarded him all of the emails thus far. It was not only strange that she would be trusting a complete stranger with this amount of money but the language she used, as well as calling her son Joe “her” was strange. I still was not 100% sure it was a scam though because how could it be if she was giving me money right? My dad told me to hold off on responding to her until he looked over it further. After a couple of hours of not responding I got a text message from the number she initially contacted me on. “Good Morning,This is Marilyn,i just sent you an email please kindly check your mail and get back to me.Thank you” My dad told me to tell her he wanted to attend the meeting with us and see if that deterred her at all.

Ok 6pm on the 25th works, my dad would like to come as well. The package will be sent to his house so he will take care of it all because I won’t be back yet.

This was the longest amount of time she had taken to respond but eventually she answered. It is said on Care.com to ask questions. Instead of being afraid of being rude or bothering them with useless questions suggest solutions (writing two checks instead of one in my case).  They also said to listen to the words. Many scammers use the same email format (there is a chain of emails for each reply and they stick to that chain-none of the emails are personalized) so try to throw them off by having “something suddenly come up.” If they completely ignore your reply in the next email and re-send the instructions again, you know you are dealing with a scammer. It seemed that I had thrown her off by asking about my father, causing a delay in the reply but at this point we had not read the information on Care.com about scams so we proceeded. She got right back down to business when she did eventually respond, talking about the check once again.

Thank you for your prompt response and for your concern about me and
my family and no problem your dad can come along.i will let you know
as soon as i mail the check.me and Joe cant wait to meet you.

I did not respond and the next day received this.

Morning Shelby.

I hope you are doing great. Sorry for the silence. I have been pretty
much engaged with moving arrangement but i was about to mail your
check last night via FedEx and the tracking number 770568452817 and
its on way to you this morning or must have delivered to you should
try to check your mail or front door. The check was made in the amount
of 2775.90. Kindly proceed to your bank to have it deposited into
your account and keep me posted when its deposited to ensure the funds
are processed for the wheelchair purchase.

Thank you and do have a great day!

P.S My other phone fell and the phone got broken last night but i will
be texting you from my other number ok?

Regards!

After a few hours of me not responding because I was busy I received a text message “Hi,I sent you an email regarding the payment mailed. Kindly check your email and keep me posted as soon as you receive and deposit the check this morning. My other phone fell yesterday and i cant read text but this is my other cell and you can always text me here.” At this point I got a phone call from my dad telling me to cut off the arrangement, he sent all the information from Care.com and I read over it before talking to Marilyn again. I replied saying I would not be able to proceed with the job and to please redirect the wheelchair and void the check to which I got the reply “ok”.

Here is the information we found online about the so called overpayment scam that helped us to realize what we were dealing with.

Online scammers will email care providers saying that they are writing from overseas and need a babysitter for an upcoming trip to the United States. Once the babysitting schedule and price has been secured, the person tells you that they will send a check for a pay deposit (your pay for babysitting). The check, however, has extra money attached to it because the person would like you to buy the children some toys at a specific store before the family arrives. The person asks you to deposit your half of the payment in your checking account at an ATM and take out the remaining money to bring to the designated store. It has already been arranged that the manager (an accomplice to the crime) will send the children the toys after receiving the payment from you.As innocent as this email seems, this scam is detrimental to you. In reality, you have inadvertently cashed a stolen or bogus check into your bank account and you will be responsible for fees associated with this type of fraud. You could be guilty of money laundering, passing a counterfeit check, or worse.

It says to look for “not A+ language”, someone using wrong tenses or mixing up words. I used the original emails in this post, not changing the format or language at all. Initially I chalked up her strange language to the fact that she was hard of hearing. Which was also a reason I didn’t suggest a phone or Skype meeting before our actual in person meeting.
They say to watch the tone, Marilyn seemed to get impatient as I tried to work out details or if I took longer than a few hours to respond to an email I received a follow up text message. She was always inquiring about when she could send the check. In reality, she had already sent the check because we received it at my dad’s house the morning that he told me to cut off ties with her. My dad tracked the check and it was sent from Hawaii, was from a bank in California but Marilyn had said she was from Arizona.
Finally it says to avoid sympathy and don’t let the sob story affect your judgement. I was hesitant to question anything because I thought it made me a bad person to second guess someone who had gone through so much tragedy. That’s exactly what they want and I fell 100% into their trap.

 

Luckily for me I trusted my instincts that something was fishy and went to my dad. That’s my biggest recommendation if you think this is happening to you or if you are unsure. Ask the opinions of people you trust, and if you are still unsure take it to the police and see what they think. It’s unfortunate that you have to think the worst of a situation to avoid being scammed but in the end it was worth it because I didn’t go through with it.

Here is the Care.com post that helped us realize what was going on http://www.care.com/child-care-how-to-avoid-babysitting-scams-p1145-q4894222.html

katie mcnamara; waking up is a gift

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As we grow older, and life gets into a rhythm, many things just become a habit. Taking showers, brushing your teeth, grabbing your morning coffee, waking up — but I realized recently that you can’t take for granted waking up every day. Think about it, every day you wake up, you have a fresh start, a brand new day to make a difference in your life, someone else’s life, or to make a difference for something. That’s quite a gift!

I started thinking about this about a month ago. I was preparing to leave for spring break when I got a call from my best friend. We talk every day so I didn’t think anything of it until I heard the shakiness in her voice. After a long pause she told me that one of our friends shot himself the night before. A month ago I was skiing in the mountains with him and going sledding in the snow. We had plans to go golfing this summer, but everything changed now. He was not going to wake up, he had no more fresh starts. He is gone and missed by so many people I don’t think he knew cared about him so much. I will forever remember his contagious smile and I know he is looking over all of his friends and family.

You watch the news, and even that can become a habit. But sometimes things will catch my eye, like a plane crash, a deadly fire, or a horrendous car crash. No one involved in any of these instances thought they wouldn’t wake up the next day, and if they did, would they have done something different that day?

“What if today is your last day?” This is the question I have posted on my mirror. I wake up everyday, brush my teeth and look at that question. It reminds me that I am alive, and that that means something. It mean something to people close to me, it means something to people I haven’t met yet; maybe it means something to an animal I’m going to rescue, or a seed I’m going to plant. It doesn’t matter how big or how small something is in your life, you have an impact on what happens and that means something!

You can’t be perfect in all of your decisions, and no one expects you to be, but remember that waking up to a new sun is a gift denied to many and is something you should treasure as an opportunity –to do good for you and everything around you. You wake up to so many possibilities every morning, so please don’t make waking up a habit. Treat it like a gift that you have the power to keep giving. WAKE UP! And LIVE!

Katie Mac
20 years old
New Hope, PA
March 28, 2014

chelsea bohannon; equality

Chelsea was the president of my sorority my first semester at college and has an incredibly unique way of capturing an audience and commanding the attention of everyone in the room. She’s taken The Passion Project to a new level tonight by addressing a very important issue, equality. I agree 100% with everything in her post and it is so great to have it broadcasted on the blog. I hope it makes everyone think and really want to make a difference. You can continue to follow Chelsea on her blog http://cmbohannon.tumblr.com

passionpro

A native of Georgia, many of my beliefs early on in life were shaped from circumstance and demographics, unfortunately. I’ve always been proud to be from Georgia; to be Southern, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized many of my views contradict those of my predominantly conservative state. It’s funny that I came to this realization when I moved farther south to Auburn, Ala., and questionably even more right-winged than my neighbor home to the east. Believing in women’s rights, marriage equality and civil rights is sometimes shoved under the rug to collect dust. But as my Nana always taught me—a clean house is a reflection of a woman and family, so ridding of the dust, I must.

While studying at Auburn University, I decided to take a course on women’s studies. At the time, I needed an extra elective and thought the course would be a breeze, even though I was fearful that the professor might make me take off my bra, whirl it in the air and yell that I was a feminist. That part scared me and of course, reflected my ignorance. To my delight, it wasn’t anything like I had expected. Funny most things in life end up that way, huh? So, freshman Chelsea dove headfirst into learning about stereotypes, the Red Queen Syndrome, breaking the glass ceiling and understanding the value I have as a person, as a woman. It was a memorable semester that sparked my interest to continue on the following year in a women and leadership course where I immersed myself deeper in the rights and equality of women. After reading Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In,” it was even more clear to me the issues that lit my fire. It also became clear to me that God granted me a mind to seek knowledge and solve problems, a voice to speak of these issues and two feet to hit the ground running to figure it all out.

However, my interest in equality didn’t stop there and is by no means limited to just the rights of women. It saddens me that in some parts of the world unbeknownst to me,  “civil rights” is just synonymous to humanity. What a poor society we live in that we have to discuss the freedoms of God’s people because they are diverse.  Although some people deny this is the case, much of our nation, specifically the South, still sees the world in black and white. A discussion recently with an African-American man about racial slurs he still experiences as a respected, educated and profitable businessman made me furious. Are we that ignorant that we can discriminate against someone based on the color of his or her skin— white against black, and black against white? This is 2014, not the 1960s. Men, women, black, white, purple, blue and yellow— we deserve equality and yet again, the dust is still settling under the rug.

The best, most contradicting and hypocritical part of this all, you should ask? Racism, as I’ve experienced it, is still predominantly catered to in the South, yet this part of the country consists of some of the most God loving and fearing of them all. For years this has baffled me. How is it that the same people who profess to live a life in the name of the Lord also spit evil at those different? It makes me wonder if their beliefs are even that true to begin with. I hope it makes you ask yourself the same question.

In the same regard, prejudices against those seeking marriage equality rocked the boat quite hard recently. As a heterosexual woman believing that my marriage will consist one man and one woman, it makes no difference to me if two people of the same sex are granted marriage. It doesn’t inflict harm upon me and for those basing their arguments on same-sex marriage setting a “bad” example for their children— remembering that it is up to parents to teach their children the “right” ways of the world should eliminate this all together. Two people of the same sex being granted to share a life together and live in happiness just like I am granted doesn’t affect me in the slightest bit. People are afraid of change and unwilling to see past the diversity.

Equality, for me, as you can see is one thing I’m passionate about. From women receiving the same opportunities as their male counterparts; to color of skin not being considered in any aspect of life; to marriage equality for all. As much as I want to believe that we are taking steps forward, I can feel us gravitate backwards because of selfish, ill-informed, hypocritical idiots of the world. My hope is that each of us gains the power and courage to make proclamations of our own— to not settle for beliefs based on our parents, circumstance and what’s popular amongst the majority. I know my generation has the ability to stare prejudice in the face and let it know it is no longer welcome, and if you feel the same, I encourage you to make a stand too.

“Every generation has the obligation to free men’s minds for a look at new worlds; to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation.”
– Ellison S. Onizuka

Chelsea Bohannon
22 years old
Newnan, GA
January 26, 2014 

Kahlil Gibran; On Reason and Passion

Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.
Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing; And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.
Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.

Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows — then let your heart say in silence, “God rests in reason.”
And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky — then let your heart say in awe, “God moves in passion.
And since you are a breath in God’s sphere, and a leaf in God’s forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.

christy key; traveling

 
It’s been incredible to have Christy’s support throughout The Passion Project and I am excited to finally post her entry to the blog. Her determination to pursue her career is admirable and she’s got a great spirit that you just can’t help but laugh with her. 
 
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I used to think I had multiple passions. I love dancing, writing, reading, art, medicine, a good drink on a Friday night and meeting new people. All of those things bring happiness to my life, but it wasn’t until I began college that I realized my real passion is traveling. I guess that sounds common. Most people like to go new places and get away from their normal routine. However, traveling has never been an escape for me, rather it’s what I always want to be doing. I go to bed each night dreaming of places. New York and Taiwan, New Zealand and Morocco, Boston and Barbados. I remember the fun I had in Amsterdam and try to find my way back there as I doze off. I thank my parents for taking my siblings and I on vacation anywhere they could, even if it wasn’t far away, and giving us new experiences that taught me more about life then I knew at the time. 
Realizing how happy I am living out of a suitcase in a different city actually helped me pick my major, which is journalism. In the end I knew I would never thrive in a career that didn’t keep me moving and interested. One of my dear friends said to me, prior to knowing I was choosing journalism, that I was her friend that she knew would be late to her rehearsal dinner because I would be on a plane back from Barcelona. I loved it. That’s exactly the person I want to be, spinning a globe and seeing the contours of the country where my finger landed. I can’t imagine a life that would be more exciting. 
Traveling is my passion, the one thing I always crave to do, and I hope as I explore each corner of the universe I meet some of you pursuing your very own passion. 
 
Christy Key
Eustis, Florida
January 22, 2014
 

tommy hibbs; listening

Tommy has a such a caring heart and it is so evident in his post. His kindness and positivity radiate and help touch everyone he meets. I really enjoyed reading this and I think it has a very important lesson in it that everyone can take something away from.  

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I have a lot of passions. Jesus, Coca-Cola, Harry Potter, Tennis, Roger Federer, Nike, Outback Steakhouse, the color orange, the list goes on and on. One thing I am really passionate about though is being there for others by listening. Sounds random and peculiar but those two words define my life and it’s what I enjoy doing . Everybody has a story, a past, something that makes them who they are today. You can learn something from everyone you meet; everybody is different, no two people are programmed identically. The thing about listening though is not many people want to do it. So often we find ourselves talking about our own lives, experiences, and journeys. It’s in our own selfish nature to build ourselves up and crave attention from friends and family; but, it takes patience and a genuine love for people to listen to what others have to say about their own lives. Before Jesus Christ saved me and became The Lord over my life I felt I had no one to talk to, no one to pour out to and tell how I was really feeling on the inside. I bottled up my sadness and acted like nothing phased me. Depressed and on the verge of suicide is when Jesus intervened with His saving grace. In reality Jesus was listening to me the whole time. Jesus was a tremendous teacher but I believe He listened just as well as He taught. No one should ever feel like they have no one to go to and open up to. I try to be the best Jesus I can be to those who don’t know Him and even to those who do know Him; everyone needs a sounding board. My goal as a friend is to have that ear to listen or that shoulder to cry on. I want people to feel comfortable enough with me to open up to with their struggles, their joys, their likes/dislikes or anything else that is on their mind. Bottling up thoughts, feelings, and expressions is harmful and dangerous. Just because you’re willing to listen however, doesn’t mean one will be willing to talk. But just knowing that a friend or family member is simply there to listen to you is a beautiful comfort. There are people in my life and probably yours who just need someone to talk to and be listened to. I am not the best listener nor the most patient friend (im working on it!) but by humbling myself and stepping back and just listening to what someone has to and wants to say allows me to show love in a unique way. No judging, no scolding, no distraction: pure listening. That simple head nod or piece of encouraging advice you may give to someone you’re listening to can make their day or even change their life. Listen more, speak less. Love by listening? Has a nice ring to it. 

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..” James 1:19

Tommy Hibbs
Odenton, Maryland
January 17, 2013