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.