Civil Discourse and Questioning
The political season is off and running! I love the passion and opportunity to hear about future ideas and plans for our country (state and community). High season for civil discourse (I hope!). Asking questions to better understand the opinions and life experiences of those in our community and country is key. I have been thinking about what questions I have to expand my understanding, which has lead to more reading of documents and articles. How can we stay civil with a country so divided? Then I found and was intrigued by the National Association of School Psychologists statement on violence (https://www.mspaonline.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Violence-Statement_July-2016_FINAL.docx). One of the six statements was that “Other people’s perspectives matter”.
“Other people’s perspectives matter. The very nature of civil disagreement is to acknowledge respectfully the views and experiences of other people and learn from differing perspectives. Adults can start by reflecting on their own experiences and how these shape their interactions and reactions. They can help children to do the same and ask questions of each other, rather than hurl accusations. Adults can create safe spaces for youth to share their feelings and concerns while also exploring how they might feel and act if they were in someone else’s shoes.”
This document is for schools, however, I believe there is a societal lesson. We should encourage individuals to share their lived experience, how these experiences “shape their interactions and reactions”. Which leads me to ponder,,, even question.
Where are the places, who are the people, and how can we engage in civil discourse? Where do we start?