Ready to Listen This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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There is a little white house on the corner of a tidy little street. In that house sits a slightly chubby man in a plush green rocking chair. I can hear him speaking in his low, even voice as if he were here with me now.

The voice is highly intelligent even though the speaker does not have a college degree. The hands that move so gracefully with the voice are patient and caring, yet these hands have never held placards in demonstration. The sophistication reflected in the eyes is evident although those eyes have never been to the opera or ballet.

That voice has helped me out in calculus without ever having studied it. Those hands, that rocked me as a baby, helped stop a Christmas tree from falling on me as a teenager. Those eyes have seen Europe through a battlefield. They have watched a president’s assassination and another’s fall from grace. The falling of a wall, a legendary trial and other numerous historical events have also passed before them.

The voice, hands and eyes have taught. I have learned of life before my time. The little boy who used to let black widow spiders crawl up his hand is now my teacher. The young adolescent who had to pay, in his final grade, the price of declining to play on a teacher’s baseball team is now my teacher. He has taught well.

There is more to a worthwhile life than college degrees and Nobel prizes. Life is not all high society, money and power. Life is people. Life is sharing: passing down traditions and memories. Life is having the wisdom to be happy with who you are. Neither all the degrees nor all the money in the world can give a person this wisdom or this happiness, we have to find them on our own.

My grandfather still sits in his plush green chair in his little white house. He is ready for his next lesson and I am ready to listen and to learn.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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