Friday, July 24, 2009

The Difficulty of Responding When Wearied

In working with people with whom we disagree and who disagree with us, I believe everything can be worked through in patience and understanding as long as no axe is actively being ground in the process - i.e., as long as nobody is going into the discussion with the intent to tear down or belittle someone else. I truly enjoy discussions that include fundamental differences of opinion - where many different perspectives are included, since I learn so much from viewpoints I wouldn't consider on my own. However, I don't enjoy attacks and broadsides, since (as a Mormon) I've dealt with them for decades. I sometimes react forcefully to that type of comment, simply because I have heard every possible permutation for too long to worry about counting. They weary me, and I sometimes forget how "new" they are to others.

I don't want anyone to muzzle himself or hold back her honest feelings in blog posts out of a fear of offending. As long as the statement is honest and expressed in a non-hyperbolic and non-ridiculing manner, I want to hear it. If the statement is disingenuous or "twisted" or obviously inflammatory, I don't. The key, I believe, is trying even harder to make sure responses are calm and measured - especially when we are "wearied".

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