Sometimes we need to be reminded that just because we can hear doesn’t mean that we actually know how to listen. In the book Boy, Phil Cummings shares that lesson with readers both young and old.
The story of Boy takes place in a kingdom where the king and his army have long been fighting a dragon. The dragon had at some earlier time burned down all of the trees in the kingdom. Everyone lived in fear of the dragon. Everyone except one boy.
Boy, for that is all that he is called, did not fear the dragon because he did not even know that the dragon was there. Boy was deaf and therefore didn’t hear all of the villagers concerns about the dragon and the talk of how the dragon was going to come after them. When Boy accidentally finds himself in the middle of a fight between the two sides (after chasing after a lizard), he asks everyone why they were fighting.
That one question showed that the king had made assumptions about the dragon instead of allowing the dragon to actually tell his side of the story. Instead of understanding that it was an accident that the dragon burned down their forests, the king had ordered his knights to kill the dragon. When the king actually stopped to listen, he realized his mistake.
It is very easy to make assumptions about people and things that we don’t know or understand, but Boy shows us that our lives could be better if we sat down and listened to what others were saying. You never know what you have in common with someone or what amazing things they can bring to the table if you don’t give them a chance.
Many of us, especially adults, are guilty of hearing what is said to us but not taking the time to listen and process the information. Often we hear the first few words and then shut down and start trying to come up with a response or have other thoughts in our heads. We all have something that we can learn from Boy.
*Boy is sold in the US by Usborne Books and More and I am an independent consultant. However, all opinions are completely mine.