AS WE WATCH OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM WORK (OR NOT) TO SELECT THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNTED STATES, I HEAR MANY PEOPLE SAY – “I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS TYPE OF BEHAVIOR IS HAPPENDING IN THE US.”
As a child of the 60’s, I can remember another time in history when our nation was faced with such polarization that it lost much of what we had all been raised to believe in – that each person had a right to free speech. Those were contentious times and people confronted one another philosophically and violently around such issues as civil rights, the Vietnam War, feminism and justice.
In the last 5 years, we have experienced more violence in our communities than ever before and seeing people’s reaction to it by creating even more violence and death. We have 24/7 news access and more advanced technology than ever before and yet we witness behavior that seems primitive.
We have shows that talk about bullying and the damage it is doing to our young people and that drugs have become an epidemic, and diabetes and obesity are killing our youth. Big issues in our country require people being willing to play a bigger game to work together and let go of their fixed beliefs and individual ideology and world views to be able to see something bigger than themselves, their emotions and individual perspectives.
Coaching people for over 25 years I have the opportunity to listen to many worldviews and perspectives that are different than my own. However, my commitment to respect different perspectives and to look together with my client at possibilities, to see beyond immediate circumstances, is what is needed to create something new. Following are some simple rules of civility that can help us all come together with an understanding of the issues and work to create solutions.
- Re-evaluate what you believe in – be willing to look at different perspectives. Are you willing to have an open mind and perhaps change your point of view?
- Try to understand what you see and what you hear versus react and respond in judgment at the way people are expressing themselves.
- As Dr. Stephen Covey shared many years ago, “seek first to understand in order to be understood.”
- Remember the loudest voice is not always the voice of reason.
- Don’t give up and sit on the sidelines judging the game – get in the game and be a part of reinventing the game by playing a bigger game.
- Remember, just because you do not agree does not mean the other person is wrong.
- Come from respect and the values you want your children to follow.
We are living in a diverse world and learning to get along at a global level like never before. Each person has a voice and can make an impact – technology has given us that. As Americans, we have the right to express ourselves. However, with that comes the responsibility to speak respectfully and thoughtfully in a way that people can hear and understand what we are saying.
I believe that from chaos we will create order; that has always been what changes our world and we must always have faith in the fact that each of us makes a difference.
With warmest gratitude,
Barbara and everyone at Source Point Training