Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

On Communication

Actual conversation: The other day it was storming furiously outside the store. I stepped around the corner and looked out the doors at the rain coming down. I said to a fellow employee, "I'm sure glad I remembered to close my sun roof."

She said, "You left your sun roof open?"

I said, "No. I said I'm glad I closed it."

A customer came up: "You left your sun roof open?"

I said, "No, I'm giving thanks that I remembered to close it."

Another customer came up: "You left your sun roof open?"

"No. I said I'm glad I closed it."

It seems to me that we don't know how to listen to each other. I remarked to my wife last night that no one in my life, except her, has really listened to me.

I believe that if we are to make any progress as a society, we need to start really listening to each other. It's not easy. We want to push our point across, so we just wait for an opportunity to put our two cents' worth in rather than listening to what the other person has to say.

Therefore, we have name-calling instead of dialogue: "Liberal!" "Right-Wing!" "Communist!" "Wing Nut!"

It's all a shortcut past the thought process. Rather than engaging each other and LISTENING to what we each have to say, we slap labels on people and/or ideas and dismiss them out of hand.

But guess what? You might learn something if you just listen.

I promise I will listen to you if you promise to do the same for me.

It's got to start somewhere. Why not us?


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