diplomacy: lessons from the road

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Bryan is an artist, father, husband, and son (not really in that order). He works for the Department of Vetern's Affairs and writes and administers The Fireside Post with his father, Ohg Rea Tone. His writings have not been published, though they have been printed a lot.

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diplomacy: lessons from the road

Dad,

I am learning about diplomacy and listening. I haven’t posted in a couple of days because I was on a road trip with my cousin. I spent about ten hours in his truck with him, and I began to realize that if I was intentional about not opening my mouth when i disagreed with him, the conversation would ultimately come around to a place where we have common ground – Like our wives and children or our extended family. Instead of pointing out the areas where I disagreed with him, I began to comment briefly on the points where I agreed. Soon, the conversation was meandering through comfortable and valuable subjects. I learned a great deal about my cousin, and we got a chance to talk about things that we have never even mentioned before. He even commented that it was impossible to make any judgments about anyone since you can never know everything about them. A profound statement from someone in our family system, don’t you think? It was a valuable lesson in diplomacy: find common ground and take steps to understand the other person. You don’t have to agree and you don’t have to fight. Just shut up for a minute.

Perhaps our politicians could use ten hours in the car with their extended families.

Bryan.

There Are 2 Responses So Far. »

  1. How do we learn to love our enemy? By seeing him as a brother who is tempted as we are, and attacked by the same real enemy which is the spirit of hatred and of “Antichrist.” This same enemy seeks to destroy us both by pitting us against one another.
    – Thomas Merton
    from Passion For Peace

  2. Those Trappist Monks from Kentucky would have us all behaving like Christians if they had their way. Next thing you know, they will also want us to forgive someone! ‘Seeking to understand, rather than to be understood’ is a noble philosophy in a dangerous world.

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