This month I’d planned to gather with dear college friends for our reunion – which, of course, was not meant to be. Nonetheless, I’ve been in a nostalgic mood, with odd scraps of conversations and small flashback movie reels coming back to me.
One classroom moment popped up the other day, as I was listening to some government officials interpret economic data. I suddenly was back in Econ 102, listening to Professor Goldman talk about the theoretical folly of a minimum wage. Much to my surprise, mid-lecture, I heard myself pipe up and say, no, that’s wrong!
This was the first time I’d openly disagreed with a professor. It might have been the first time I openly disagreed with anyone in authority. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I wanted to take them back. Who knew what consequences would come my way? But I had just spent the summer working 3 part time jobs for $3.35 an hour, alongside parents who were working those same jobs and trying to make ends meet.
Here is the amazing thing that happened: he listened.
Professor Goldman paused, turned, and asked me to explain my views, to give evidence for my commentary. And when I’d done so, he said, well that’s a fair point, and incorporated my objection into the class discussion. He didn’t tell me the 1000 ways that my view was incomplete. He didn’t pull out his econo-jargon and PhD and dozens of credentials to bully me with them. He didn’t dismiss my evidence because it was based on personal observation.
Dear ones, even when we know something for sure, even when we’re the experts, we don’t know so much in the end. May we be willing to see the gaps between our theories and our realities. May we be willing to consider that our most cherished ideals might still be works in progress. May we always be willing to listen, with open minds and open hearts.
Coming soon! A new book, Month of Sundays, based on this series of Sunday Bests. Look for more details in the weeks to come, and follow @mofsundaysbook on your favorite social media platforms to stay in the loop.