Sunday Post 199: Start All Over Again

I don’t often get the “opportunity” to spend time with folks who see the world grossly differently from me.  I tend to surround myself and work on relationships with those who think more like me.  They’re usually smart, witty and right!

But a few weeks ago, I shared a meal with someone who tackled the world from a totally different perspective.

At first I was quite taken aback, even offended by his comments.  How in the heck could he see the world that way?  What’s wrong with him, I thought to myself.

And then, I began to listen to his story.  I peppered him with questions about how he was raised and how he got to where he is today.  And a light bulb went off.  No wonder he’s like this!  It makes perfect sense.

We all come to the table with a view built on our specific life experiences.  He acts this way because of the way he was raised and because of the specific people and experiences he has encountered.

One thing was clear during our hour-long lunch:  he wasn’t changing my mind on today’s political issues, and I wasn’t going to change his.  But taking the time to listen, to put myself into his shoes, helped me understand why he views the world in, to me, is such an odd way.

I wish we, as a country, could have more open and honest dialogue.  I wish we would be more willing to sit with others who are different from us.  I want to spend more time with the other side, listening more – not to build a strategy to win but to gain a deeper understanding of why.

Let’s get in a room.  Let’s lock the door.  Let’s not come out until everyone has respectfully told their story.  Not just their opinion, but their story – their background and the journey that has helped them form their worldview.

Then, let’s start all over again.

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9 Comments

  1. good writing! i think it is super importpant to respectfully listen to the other… it doesn’t mean that I have to agree with that or even think it is right or good what the other thinks… but I have to respect their opinion! thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Reply
  2. We are not a country who is afraid to talk, but we are scared to listen. To really listen means to hear someone, really hear them, and consider. I think we’re terrified that we might have to consider ourselves, and our long-held beliefs, wrong. Good for you for opening your mind to difference. We need more of that.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  December 22, 2014

      That is very well put! We will express ourselves – but heaven forbid we listen!

      Reply
  3. A-men. And the “other” person’s story is inevitably compelling, interesting, and thought-provoking. I was talking with my daughter about these very things. A college freshman, she is quite idealistic, not having actually encountered that many people who are different from her, despite having gone to a large, public, Durham high school. Would you might if I reposted your essay on my facebook page? I understand if you would prefer that I not do so. Merry Christmas.

    Reply
    • Danny Tanner

       /  December 22, 2014

      repost if you like. i sort of like the idealistic view of the young folks. wish we all acted like that!

      Reply
  4. I have said this many times, none quite so elegantly.

    Reply
  5. Well said. There are entirely too many people that only see the world through their own lens. It’s important to remember that not everybody’s lens is the same.

    Reply
  6. true, true! I recently was at a church progressive dinner and the talk became about sports and getting frustrated at their children playing around on the field. I got really uncomfortable and wanted to just go home. I enjoy children picking flowers on the soccer field and pretending to be bumble bee’s. Apparently maybe I’m the only one. or it’s my education background that’s messed me up bad. I know that when Kaegan was down there for that mission trip, she had her mind shifted by working at that homeless shelter and served meals and found coats for people. I was glad that she had that experience and know that it probably impacted her views and voting for the rest of her life. 🙂

    Reply

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