In a divided world: We have more than two choices

The third option requires our brains AND our hearts

We have more than two choices... Really!

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?

Have you been a titled leader in a business and heard employees expressing concerns about fairness or potential layoffs?

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?

communication, discussion, dialogueHave you watched divisive current events and taken a side?  And then heard from a family member, friend, coworker or neighbor that has taken the other side?

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.  

Dismissing Legitimate Questions Increases Fear and DivisionAfter living in Saudi Arabia for four years, we’ve been back in the U.S. for eight weeks and are viewing the conflicts in our nation with fresh eyes:  

  • 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:

  1.  Total acceptance – questioning nothing
  2.  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
Not long ago a friend admitted that she feels pushed to choose a particular side because of a group she identifies with. 
Another friend shared an article that hurt and then made her angry – as it said really negative things about the leadership in her country and on her continent.  (And then as we talked, she admitted that there was some truth in the article.)

And recently I had two different friends post about their personal experiences with the affordable care act:

  • 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:

  1. People work through divisive current events
  2. Students, adults and organizations develop critical life and leadership skills
  3. Followers of Jesus to find Biblical responses to the news and division in our world

View speaking testimonials here

Chery Gegelman

President, Giana Consulting

Chery Gegelman is an adventurer that loves to learn. ...Deep conversations, books, travel, and daily living are all food for growth.

As a speaker, facilitator and workshop leader she creates energizing environments that reflect God's grace, tear down walls, help people to consider new perspectives, and inspire change.

Chery is the Founder of Giana Consulting and Conversation Safari's, listed as a Great Leadership Speaker by Inc., writes a recognized leadership blog and has co-authored two leadership books.

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4 thoughts on “In a divided world: We have more than two choices

  1. The good news is that I have yet to meet someone on either side of the great divide who says, “You know, we really need to fight more. We’re not being vicious enough. Let’s get a bit nastier and see how that goes.”

  2. This is such a difficult time in the U.S. I have decided not to engage in any of these discussions in my professional life. I think we need to see how division is tearing this country apart and make sure we stay connected with one another in our work worlds.

    Thanks for your bravery Chery!

    • Terri – I agree with you that we need to find all the connection points possible!

      I still don’t feel brave – just drawn. People on all sides of these issues need each other to create real solutions and failure to listen, learn and collaborate. And it is possible to do it with respect, care, understanding and be energized instead of drained.