There are always voices that are missing.
They might be silent or just quiet or they might not even be present in the discussion. There’s always someone that you’re not hearing.
Those who teach know this is true. In my role, I do a lot of teaching and discussion leading and there are always loud voices and quiet voices and voices that are never even raised.
It’s a challenge.
Yesterday in Bible Study at South Middle School before the first bell, a loud 7th grade boy had much to offer. His commentary was loud and boisterous and distracting.
Me: Think of your best friend or your best friends or your good friends. What makes those people your friends?
Him (loudly): I don’t have any friends!
Quiet, soft-spoken girl next to me (barely audible): My friends listen to me.
Everyone in the room (and probably the hallway and the cafeteria) heard the boy. Only two of us could hear the girl. What’s more, there were kids who didn’t even answer the question so I never heard what they thought at all.
The trick, as a teacher, is to try to draw out voices and thoughts more equally and not let one exceptionally extroverted person dominate the words and thoughts of the group. It’s hard sometimes. Our ears all work the same way–we hear the loudest sounds best and it’s hard to hear softer sounds when louder sounds are present.
In life, there are a lot of voices we don’t hear.
Today is a day when many people are silent on all of their social media and website outlets as part of the End It movement. There are 27 million slaves in the world (many of them victims of Human Trafficking).
We don’t hear their voices because they cannot raise them.
When you don’t hear someone’s voice, it is easy to forget they exist.
The same is true for other voices we cannot hear–victims of war or genocide, the elderly living in homes where they are abused, children living in unsafe situations who cannot speak for themselves.
But when we know that these injustices are happening, it is our job to speak up. Those of us who are not enslaved, or living in war zones, or being mistreated–we can speak out.
May the God who hears all of us bring the soft and invisible voices to our ears, and may we be faithful to hear them and act.