On November 15th, twenty-eight women from a variety of races, nations and religions gathered together for a Conversation Safari. The plan was to dive into divisive current events and the fears that drive our emotions, our behaviors and our results.
Our topic had been planned for months based on several private conversations:
- I’d had with a Muslim neighbor
- And several different conversations I’d had with ladies that will always have a better tan than I do
In each of those private conversations we shared fears, we felt each other’s pain, and considered new perspectives.
(The date of our event had been chosen because of some scheduling conflicts, not because of a master strategy. But when November 9th rolled around and the election results from the U.S. hit the airwaves – fear in across the world and in the expat sandbox grew. Our topic could not have been more perfectly timed.)
- One of the women I had met with during the summer shared what was happening at the University that her son attends in the U.S.
- Other neighbors were posting deep concern for their safety in the world
- While other friends in the U.S. were sharing deep concerns about racism and bigotry
Titled leaders and employees are happier and more successful when they learn how to have discussions that include deep listening and truth telling. A failure to do either one equals missed opportunities for learning and growth. (This is also true for family and community members.)
As a result, I’ve been encouraging listening, thinking, and dialogue with increasing frequency and leveraging current events as examples of how we can do this.
As you watch the news, are you ever so aware of the pain and the division in our world that it is hard to think about anything else?
Recently in my home country:
- A woman was set on fire because of her faith.
- Two other women were punched because of their faith.
- Bombs were set off and people were stabbed for their faith.
- A man was killed because of the color of his skin.
- Several men were killed because of the uniform they wear.
Some have responded with fear and hate for everyone that is not like them.
Others deny that any problem exists and encourage blind acceptance.
Do we really have only two options???
Imagine learning that a very obstinate peer is going to become your new boss. Yes – the opinionated one that is like a dog with a bone and just won’t drop a subject, and almost always opposes your point of view.
To say you are concerned is an understatement! That overwhelming dread you are feeling is fueled by RAW FEAR.
As many of you know, I’m living in a part of the world where many freedoms that I once took for granted – don’t exist. -Now don’t get me wrong I agreed to move here, to seek first to understand and to learn. So I’m not complaining. …But I absolutely must share what I’m learning.
Have you ever considered that…
- In countries where sharing research and opinions puts liberty and lives at risk – citizens are being taught that it is safer not to think
- In countries that allow freedom of speech, traditional journalists have done so much of the work for citizens – that we’ve allowed ourselves to become lazy thinkers
- Dialogue is a way for us to seek truth, gain new perspectives, build relationships, and solve problems
- Dialogue is also a freedom that many take for granted
Last night right before I went to bed, I learned about the shooting deaths of 3 more police officers – this time in Baton Rouge. It is heart-breaking and tempting to feel helpless, as angry people continue to destroy lives and rock our world with bombings, shootings, and even trucks.
This time felt even more personal, as I used to live in Baton Rouge and drove and worked where the shooting took place. And in the time I was there, I fell deeply in love with the people, the city and the state of Louisiana.
I woke early this morning and immediately checked the news for updates and prayed.
A short time later, I was reminded that exactly three years ago today I posted an article about pain and anger as I tried to process the Trevon Martin case.
- Three more years of conflict.
- Three more years of finger pointing and blaming.
Clearly – What we’re doing isn’t working, as the conflicts are becoming more frequent and more violent.