I listened to a disgruntled parent on the phone yesterday. Because she was disgruntled about something completely unrelated to me, she was quite open with the details of her discontent.
I listened to a couple teachers rant last week. In what started as a discussion of what I could do for their students, our meeting soon became what I could do for them in that moment, to be a good ear.
I listen to students in my high school group share their insecurities almost every Wednesday and Friday. Their fears and self-doubts are usually thrown into the middle of sentences so subtly that if I weren’t paying close attention, I might miss them.
When I was teaching, I regularly had students come into my classroom to sit and talk at me before or after school, to share their tough lives beyond the school walls, to ask me personal questions that I wanted to feel comfortable enough to answer sincerely because I knew they needed an adult to look up to and have their back.
These are not isolated incidents. From day to day, I listen to people share feelings of frustration, of isolation, of shame. Certainly, not everything I listen to is negative. I hear plenty of good experiences and fun stories too. But I hear the tough ones more loudly. Sometimes in those circumstances, I offer my input. More often, I prefer to listen or ask a question or two to keep from having the conversation come back on me, to swirl back around to how I am doing.
I remember growing up that it was often stated to me, no one likes a complainer. No one wants to hear the negativity. And I think that is true. But we also need someone to hear us, especially on the days that don’t go so well. In my own home, I’m often told that I’m not a good listener. I cringe each time I hear that statement and I immediatly wonder how, if I’m so terrible at listening to the one that loves and knows me best, can anyone else feel like I’m good enough to confide in?
We so often want to shut out the negativity, to cut off the complainers mid-vent because we know just how to fix their crazy, mental, nutty lives. I am a complete victim of this in my own home. I flap my wings all over William’s sharing like a distraught mother bird and I manage to cut him off mid-sentence repeatedly with unhelpful questions because if I’m busy focusing on fixing him there is less room in my crazy brain to focus on what is wrong with me.
When I take a step back and give myself a break, just as I so often give everyone else one, I realize we are all just trying to figure out how to live and be and manage ourselves in this experience we’re given. And many of us are struggling daily through life’s heap to peel back enough layers—in a conversation, in a relationship, in ourselves—to find the voice that is ours.
Each one of us has one. Each voice is distinct and has something to say. Each voice deserves to be heard. But it requires the act of listening.
– Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds
Sprouted Buckwheat Granola
Chalk it up to roots that run real deep to the British Isles, but I’m in the habit of enjoying teatime around 4pm as often as possible, complete with a hot cuppa and snacks, and all the better if there is good company and conversation to be had. Growing up, I always ate a bowl of cereal as a snack on days I came home right after school. To this day, I favor crunchy cereals and fruit rather than the traditional mid-afternoon sweets. Today just happens to be National Nut Day. I’m not acutally sure if the day is meant to celebrate all the nutters like me, or if its more of a day to enjoy eating nuts, but the Recipe Redux is celebrating with a nutty theme this month. So it was timely that my garden-neighbor handed me a big box of fresh-off-his-tree walnuts last week. I contemplated making all sorts of elaborate walnut concoctions. But then it was teatime and I was out of crunchy cereal. So I made granola.
This sprouted buckwheat granola is inspired by a completely raw, sprouted one that I purchase in tiny amounts at my local co-op as a treat. Sprouting seeds, nuts, and grains helps them to release enzyme inhibitors which make them more difficult to digest their beneficial nutrients and makes them more nutritious to eat. Making sprouted granola in a food dehydrator is the best way to make sure those released nutrients are still around in the final product. I do not have a food dehydrator though so I baked my batch in the oven at the lowest possible setting overnight. If you want to add a little honey or maple syrup in the mixing process to sweeten this up a touch more, go ahead. I find the applesauce and raisins to be lightly sweet enough.
2 cups raw buckwheat groats
2 cups puffed millet
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup raisins
- Soak the buckwheat in a large dish for 6-8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse well until the water runs clear and all the slime is gone. Drain thoroughly. Return the buckwheat to a large jar and cover with cheesecloth, a thin towel, or paper towel, and set upside down. Rinse at least twice per day until it just starts sprouting, about 1-2 days. Meanwhile, soak the nuts and the seeds in a jar for 4-6 hours. Rinse and drain them thoroughly.
- On a large baking pan, pour out and mix the slightly sprouted buckwheat, soaked and rinsed walnuts and pumpkin seeds along with the remaining ingredients, except for the raisins.
- Set the pan in the oven at the lowest possible temperature setting and allow to dry overnight for 6-8 hours. Remove from the oven, cool to room temperature, and then stir in the raisins.