Are you listening? Or just talking?
Unfortunately, listening is a lost art in today’s society. I’m hopeful we will somehow bring back its popularity in the near future. In the meantime – a little pep talk to the masses.
I’ve written before about how I could really dish it out when I worked at the Statehouse in Indiana. In fact, sometimes I think it was myself and others like me who made screaming at government officials and leaders popular once again (I believe it goes in cycles). It makes me shudder when I think about the way I used to act and the words I used.
The disability community is ripe with unflattering confrontations and it’s not just with politicians. You pretty much have to go along with the status quo and I don’t see this changing any time soon. So instead of working together to find solutions – some common ground – we are kicking people out of the conversation who have different views and losing solutions along the way.
It can work you know. You don’t have to hate someone just because they think a little differently than you do. And here is a great example of how it can work.
I have a dear friend who has been in the disability world for 30+ years. I value her opinion more than anyone I can think of when it comes to the universe of disabilities. In addition, I seek her out on personal issues and life in general. I love her like a mother, or should I say a much older sister – yeah – that sounds better.
She is center left – I’m center right. We DO NOT agree on everything but we have managed to agree on quite a bit and have found a beautiful place which used to be called – common ground. Her input has influenced my company and more blog posts than you will ever know – even those blog posts which incite so much anger among the ruling class of disabilities.
She has taken the time to open my eyes to new ideas and lovingly questions my actions and thoughts so I can see the world with a different attitude and different eyes. She is the first one to call me out when I mess up and I will be forever grateful that she has been part of my life. I hope in some small way, I have helped mold her views too.
Today, the world says push her away; don’t listen to her. That it’s OK to feed that insatiable desire within you to have everything you read and hear align with your views.
Common ground has become a desert of sorts, sorely missing compromise, understanding and the humility of conceding to another.
The disability community is at a critical time in its growth, will you be part of the problem or part of the solution?