and now I’m back at the computer briefly. So this will be quick.
1) How to Train Your Dragon – One of the most beautiful soundtracks I’ve heard is composer John Powell‘s score for the animated film How to Train Your Dragon. Nathan Mills has taken the This is Berk theme and arranged it for classical guitar…almost wrote Celtic guitar. Just have a lovely listen:
Beyond the Guitar YouTube Channel – Subscribe so you don’t miss his music as it’s posted.
2) Expressions of Kindness – It’s hard to believe it’s been just a bit over two weeks since Dave’s father died. His passing is still so fresh, and especially, for Dave’s mom. I’m so grateful for the many expressions of kindness she has received…and we have received as well. It is a marvel that people still send cards these days. Thank you.
3) Civility – This week I came across a TED Talk by writer Steven Petrow entitled 3 Ways to Practice Civility. In his talk, he defines civility as “living by a moral code, striving to be a good citizen…citizens willing to give of themselves for the good of the city, for the good of the commonwealth, for the larger good.”
Petrow gives his three ways to practice civility or civil discourse as follows:
- Deescalate language. “I’ve stopped using trigger words in print. By trigger words, I mean ‘homophobe,’ ‘racist’, ‘xenophobe’, ‘sexist’. All of those words. They set people off. They’re incendiary and they do not allow us to find common ground. They do not allow us to find a common heart.”
- Challenge policies; challenge positions; but never make it personal.
- Don’t mistake decorum for civility. One can demonstrate recognized etiquette in a situation and yet still be incivil (shades of Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess).
Behavioral economist Julia Dhar has given a brilliant talk on civil discourse in both the workplace and in family/friend situations. She used her world-class debate background in applying the principles of debate to conversation where strong disagreement exists.
Here are my notes from her talk:
- Debaters don’t choose sides. Discipline yourself to think through how you would argue the other side.
- Find common ground.
- Focus on ideas not identities.
- Open yourself up to the possibility that you might be wrong – the humility of uncertainty.
- Engage with the best, clearest, least personal version of the idea.
In her talk, Dhar emphasized how incivility doesn’t make us more persuasive. In her summary, she drove home three points:
- Stop talking and start listening.
- Stop dismissing and start persuading.
- Stop shutting down and start opening our minds.
In the article below, Dhar’s prescription for real conversation is powerful. Face-to-face is so much more effective than all the messy communication we find in social media as well as the talking head approach of our politicians and news commentators.
“Evil communication corrupts good manners. I hope to live to hear that good communication corrects bad manners.”
4) the “Uneducated Base” – Bouncing this idea off my husband, he asked, “And what makes this a fave?” I was reading a Facebook post by a friend of mine (actually shared from a friend of hers). His post was focused on the argument for late term abortion. He gave all his perceived positive reasons (clearly positive, in his opinion) for late term abortion to be protected. Then he closed his post by putting all of us who oppose or struggle with the direction of such legislation in one political party’s “uneducated base”.
I’ve been thinking about this all day….and this health care dilemma for several weeks now that it is a legislative and cultural hot topic.
Photo Credit: Vimeo
We all have deep-held values and beliefs about freedoms, rights, quality of life, and the role of government in the community. In situations where we agree (in America, let’s say), then hopefully our representative government will agree also, aligning with our values. When we disagree we have a partisan government where our various elected officials speak on our behalf. Sometimes it is along party lines and sometimes it is not.
In thinking back on my #3 of civility, it is challenging to even have these discussions in such a manner where both sides of a disagreement can learn from each other and make better decisions. We wrangle and blame and putdown our adversaries. We escalate the argument with name-calling and demeaning language.
Conversations – even fake ones on social media – where we resort to such mean-spirited tactics – feel so middle school. These issues are too crucial to keep any side silent. Yet, it becomes the ones with the most stinging speech rather than the soundest arguments who win the day.
I won’t give up, but, for some reason, that one hurt more than a bit.
Any thoughts on any of this? In the Comments, please…and in the spirit of closing the divide.
Here’s to a restful weekend – full of wonder – and filled with people you love.
Operational Transparency – Ryan W. Buell – brilliant!
Parents’ letters to teacher about their kids then and now – one teacher’s experience:Photo Credit: Amie Diprima Brown, Facebook