We old lady in a gold floral dress who

We stood in the
cluttered room, filled with books, quotations, photographs and my grandfather
stood amongst his controlled mess. The room where one Friday night Shabbat
dinner, my grandfather amongst all of his organised chaos brings the entire
family of 11 into his office, he presses play on the computer and tells us all
to ‘just listen’.


I, at the time was
probably not even ten years old yet – but there I stood with my eyes glaring
into the old PC screen but my ears were essentially doing the work.

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To my dismay, I saw an
old lady in a gold floral dress who had the scruffiest looking hair in the
world and a whole bunch of attitude walk onto the Britain’s got Talent stage to
audition for a chance to win one of the most prestigious talent competitions in
the world. I thought my grandfather was pulling another one of his classic
jokes and having a bit of a laugh with the family at first; but nonetheless we
all continued watching.


Her name: Susan Boyle

Her act: Singing ‘I
Dreamed a Dream’ from Les Mis?rables

Her dream: To become a
professional singer “as successful as Elaine Paige”


After hearing her
information, the judges and audience were shocked by not only her appearance
but also by their initial thoughts of the strange figure appearing before them
and the absurdity of her dream. They all chuckled and giggled under their
breaths as they thought that this whole spectacle was a joke.


The calming music of
‘I Dreamed a Dream’ slowly got louder. Susan Boyle opened her mouth to sing
along with the soothing sounds. Suddenly the somewhat melancholic tunes boomed
into a full orchestral performance. The atmosphere of the audience and judges
saw a paradigm shift, mouths were wide open with wonder, eyes filled with tears
of guilt of initial thoughts and everyone, including my family and I got the
“biggest wake-up call ever”.



A moment so tiny in my
life and two simple words said by my grandfather has sparked such a sense of
understanding from deep within me. The various lessons of the importance of
listening can be seen by Susan Boyle’s Britain’s got Talent audition resonates
with me throughout my life. To listen carefully and see the truth in all
outcomes is so important in not only my life but in the world around me. We
live in a world where people do not listen because they simply do not care,
therefore as a result people are becoming more self centred and judgemental
than ever. I see this daily and experience the issues which emerge from this
phenomenon. There is such a craze of how important it is to have designer shoes
or how critical the new facial lock feature on the iPhone X is. Our world
constantly sees people for their appearance and aesthetics. But appearance and
aesthetics is not what describes a person. If we just took the time to listen
and understand who a person is, we would limit the cliques and stereotypes
which have simply negatively shaped our society.


However I too have
seen the opposite side of the spectrum in my grandfather. My grandfather lives
by the simple ideal of listening to understand. I can have a conversation with
him about the most irrelevant topic yet weeks, even months later will he
remember what I said. This quality has placed him in high esteem as he is so
aware and cognisant of what is happening around him. This furthermore allows
for him to be less judgemental and to ensure he fully understands everyone for
who they truly are; rather than for how they seem to appear.


 To my grandfather, cliques and stereotypes are
nonexistent; they never were and never will be. He is also; as a result, a much
happier person who can fully engage with all types of people of which he
encounters. My grandfather doesn’t worry about the outside but rather focuses
and sees the good which is on the inside. His work life, social life and family
life is of such an excited calibre because by his listening he wants to get to
know people and people in turn want to get to know him. I do not know of anyone
else who truly epitomizes this value more than my gentle and reflective


To be given the
opportunity to have someone who taught me such a lesson is invaluable. I have
been given the priceless opportunity to reflect on myself and how I can improve
who I am through listening to people. Not only have I realized the faults
within me, I too have seen the faults which are present in our world and various
societies in which we live. I now; more than ever understand that if everyone
can simply listen to other people around them; as well as forget about initial
thoughts they have of people. We can all have the opportunity to not only
realize and rectify the faults within ourselves but furthermore we can create a
more accepting world where appearances and aesthetics are a thing of the past.


Susan Boyle – despite
her grandeur is a minor example of which we can all reflect on about how
important it is to listen to understand. For all we know, the person we can be
criticizing may be the next global star and the truth is; people whom listen to
other people and truly understand them are the ones that will enjoy their own
lives and can enjoy seeing people for who they really are.

Next time you
encounter someone and before you even think of judging them. Keep quiet and “just