Let’s Disagree This Week
“Our goal is to open up minds, and change hearts. That comes from relationships, exposure over time, and conversation.”
(Sam Ponder, ESPN reporter)
One could argue that what the world needs most right now is a renewed ability to resolve conflict. That starts by learning to disagree.
Honestly, most adults are terrible at this. Think about how rare it is when you find someone completely comfortable with the discomfort of disagreement. These people listen to understand, refuse to reflexively react to a differing opinion, and rarely, if ever, base a relationship on total agreement.
These people are hard to find.
And in our ever-polarizing world of social media echo-chambers, it’s even hard to find instances of this kind of mature disagreement, much less people who operate this way as a whole.
The quote above, from a female correspondent with ESPN, displayed a great example for us all. Commenting on NFL player Cam Newton’s obviously sexist dialogue with a female reporter, Ms. Ponder refused to react by throwing out names and easy accusations toward Mr. Newton. She said she did not want to “do the same thing to him, that he did to her.”Instead, she displayed a remarkable maturity in recognizing both the offense and Mr. Newton’s follow-up apology, and calling us all to a better path forward.
This path forward is not quick, is not easily forwarded and followed online, and is not for the faint of heart. Learning to listen with an open mind, understand with an empathic heart, and courageously build a relationship over time is not easy.
But like exercise and hard work, if we want to truly BE in this world, learning to disagree well is necessary.
Peace begins with pause,