During a contentious debate, the moderator shared this wisdom: “I encourage you to share your stories before taking your stands.”
Humans who live east of Eden’s gates tend to be a quarrelsome and cantankerous people. Name a topic, and we possess a fiercely held opinion. Ask, and we’re glad to share it . . . and most times, we don’t have to be asked.
Name the subject, and we’re ready to take a stand.
In the process, we cast the debate into a binary polarity of right and wrong, good and bad, yes and no, me and you. No middle ground can be found because none is recognized.
For example, here’s a line I occasionally use in the midst of a heated discussion: “I’m not trying to argue with you. I’m just explaining why you’re WRONG!”
Hear again the advice: “I encourage you to share your stories before taking your stands.”
What would it look like in our lives if we took the time to share our personal narratives before a heated debate? Maybe knowing the other person’s backstory would change our perspective if not our mind.
- The antiwar pacifist lost his son in Gulf War 1.
- The pro-life demonstrator endured a backroom abortion as a teenager, and the physical and mental scars remain decades later.
- The guns rights’ advocate survived three home burglaries during his adolescence.
- A mother doesn’t discipline her out-of-control children because her father physically abused her as a child.
- The homeless beggar on the interstate ramp suffers PTSD from his years serving in the United States’ military.
- The gay rights activist’s daughter came out of the closet last year.
- The gay rights opponent’s son came out of the closet last year.
- The person picketing for prayer in school sees the nation sliding into irreligious society.
- The person picketing against the Ten Commandments in courthouses treasures the separation of church and state.
- The Hillary-loving-yellow-dog-Democrat believes his party represents the down and out.
- The Trump-make-America-great-again-Republican believes her party emphasizes individual responsibility.
- The woman with the shaved head and blue dots just finished her second radiation treatment.
- The ‘tatted, pierced, and gauged young adult volunteers as a mentor at the local elementary school.
Share your stories before taking your stands.
You might be surprised by what you hear before you speak.