Shut up and Listen


So it’s been a while… right? I think the last time I wrote was the beginning of last summer, and now its February 2019. Time flies when… well it hasn’t all been fun, but time flies. In the last 10 months (?!?) I’ve traveled thousands of miles for work, had a relationship end, won a political campaign, written more music, reunited with childhood friends and moved hundreds of miles to start a new job/adventure in a somewhat familiar city. Like I said, a lot has happened. I’ve had some of my proudest moments, and some of my most confusing moments take place in this minuscule period of time.

As a Christian, person of color, son, brother, friend, mentor, mentee and young professional, I have been challenged in myriad ways, and to be honest with you, it’s kind of been nice. I guess refreshing might be a better word. It’s so easy for us to get comfortable with our own complacency. That’s why I think we’re easily offended when we get pushed or someone disagrees with our points of view.  As someone who recently got thrown into the pit of divisiveness in America, let me encourage you to shut up and listen. Everyone is so quick to tell you what to think and why to think it. When was the last time you chose to just hear someone out? Trust me, I’m as passionate and dedicated as the next guy, but the moment I think I have nothing to learn from that guy, just start calling me Nathan-the-idiot-know-it-all.

Growing up, my dad always said, “The smartest people are those who are always willing to be the student.”  So besides temporary hurt feelings/pride, what do we have to lose from being the student for ten minutes? However, if we choose to learn from other people’s experiences, we have to first acknowledge our own biases.

At the end of the year last year, I sat down with a friend of mine who happened to be white and he had questions on my personal experiences of being black in America, but the first thing he said to me was “ I want to learn, and I’m willing to admit my own prejudice.”

That phrase caught my attention.

About a month later, I sat down with a female friend of mine and I had questions about the ongoing virus of rape culture in America, so the first thing I said was “I want to learn, and I’m willing to admit my own prejudice”.  She was not only blown away by the phrase, but shared details and experiences I could never had imagined possible in this life.

If we are willing to admit our own bias, our own prejudice and learn from others, society will become less divisive and more attentive to her issues.  So here is my challenge, sit down with someone, and ask to be schooled in a topic you know NOTHING about. Come with a heart of a student. Be willing to be wrong.

Shut up and listen.



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