Have you ever had a small child run to you in fear? (Of the boogeyman under the bed, the barking dog, or the crack of thunder?)
How do you respond?
Do you ignore them? Do you dismiss them? Do you call them boogey-phobic, dog-phobic, or noise-phobic? Do you make fun of them? Or do you shine a light under the bed and explain why they are safe? Take them to meet the neighbor’s dog and see that he is friendly? Or explain how thunder works?
How have you responded?
Do you get defensive and angry that they dare to question you? Do you blow off their concerns? Do you talk down to them? Or do you hear them and respond with understanding, compassion and honesty?
How have you been responding?
Are you ignoring them? Unfriending them? Labeling them? Shouting at them? Making fun of them? Or are you seeking first to understand what is driving them?
Great parents, leaders and friends – listen to questions and fears without anger or labels, or a dismissive attitude. They seek to understand, and then shine a light under the bed and address real and imagined concerns. They are honest about real challenges and about their commitment to their people.
- Literally flying over the ocean as the first travel ban was signed and protests began
- Arriving back in our home state of N.D. as DAPL protesters were actively protesting but soon to be removed from the protest area
- Watching a documentary about a police officer shooting Terrance Crutcher in Tulsa – the city we lived in before moving overseas
Have you noticed:
How many questions and concerns are dismissed by those with the ability to provide thoughtful and caring answers?
That nearly everything that we see in the news, and that comes across our social media feeds pushes us to believe that we have only two choices:
- Total acceptance – questioning nothing
- Being labeled as a hater or a”phobe”
There really is a third option and it involves the use of BOTH our brains and our hearts.
It requires us to:
- Leave our comfort zones
- Seek first to understand
- Dig into all sides of an issue
- Think critically
- Ask tough questions
- See people that look and think differently than we do – as people
- Consider where we might be wrong
- Consider the needs of others as much as we consider our own
- One is an insurance agent and a single mom that has had her monthly health care premiums increase beyond the price of her mortgage payment.
- The other is a healthcare provider that is self-employed and has a medical diagnosis that requires healthcare. She was in tears when the affordable care act was not repealed doesn’t have to fear having her coverage dropped because of her pre-existing condition.
Both women are telling the truth, deserve to be heard and to find solutions for themselves, their families and their clients.
Each one holds a piece of a greater puzzle.
A puzzle that we can’t solve as long as we continue to hear only one side.
Looking for a speaker or a facilitator for your next event?
Besides Chery’s ability to share what life was life in Saudi was really like – There are so many lessons from that big sandbox that help:
- People work through divisive current events
- Students, adults and organizations develop critical life and leadership skills
- Followers of Jesus to find Biblical responses to the news and division in our world