Another important concept I practiced during my service learning was active listening. Active listening, “seeing the expressed idea or problem from the speaker’s point of view (Walker pg. 226), was important during my time with Mrs. X. Mrs. X suffered from a traumatic brain injury due to the car wreck and occasionally had a difficult time expressing what she wishes to be done. By listening intently and patiently asking questions, we were able to achieve many activities, including pleasant conversations, with little stress and confusion. This assignment also helped me rediscover how much I enjoy helping others and the giving of myself. It is not so much that I enjoy helping others, but realized it is a part of my life as it was when I was in the U.S. Coast Guard and how it will be again when I am a teacher. Viktor Frankl held that “the striving to find meaning in our lives is a primary motivational force” (Walker pg. 16).
Helping others is such a major part of my life that I am lost without it. I strive to finish college so I may use my degree and knowledge to better other’s lives. For me there is no better feeling than realizing I pulled a drowning victim out of the water, rescued a family off a burning boat, or helped a disabled person sweep the kitchen floor. Irwin Yalom found that “positive sense of meaning is associated with processing values relating to the betterment of humanity and an interest in the welfare of others” (Walker pg. 417). It is interesting we can employ skills and knowledge we learned in a classroom to serve those who need help, but walk away with a deeper knowledge not often found in our schools. Volunteering is not only the giving of your time and knowledge, but the giving of yourself and the opportunity to learn.