Speak their minds

Those of us with a passion for change inadvertently create conflicts. We oppose those who want stability. Our opposition appears stagnant to us and we appear disruptive to them. It does not matter if we care about technology integration, transformed pedagogies or empowered learners, we are making enemies and starting wars.

Sun Tzu, in "The Art of War", advises us to "know the enemy and know ourselves". Merely knowing the desirable change, favored selling points, or features and benefits of new approaches -- knows neither the enemy or ourselves. We have set ourselves up for "winning the battle and losing the war". We can only push against, antagonize and intimidate the other side. We appear arrogant, dangerous and unresponsive to our opposition. We are easily baited, deceived and defeated with our own insensitivity.

When we don't know ourselves, we also don't realize we are projecting an inner conflict onto others. We have idealized half of the whole truth and strut of our side of the story with pride. We have demonized, awfulized or catastrophized the other side of issue and excluded it from our identity. We are acting out an unresolved issue, instead of acting strategically, diplomatically or creatively.

When we truly know ourselves, we can see the stance we are taking -- as it appears to others. We get where we are coming from, in addition to what we're pushing for. We take our own premises tentatively and allow for other points of view. We've gotten off our high horse and come down to see things "eye to eye".

When we also know our enemy, we see their point of view. We can walk in their moccasins and look through their eyes. We speak their mind and acknowledge their concerns. We "get in their corner" and serve their long range interests.

This practice of empathy disarms their vengeance toward us. They know that no real threat can play "peek a boo" with them. We must not be the real enemy they assumed us to be. When we give them "permission to persist" or "prescribe their symptom", we foil their plot of war. We win without a battle by being empty of our warring intentions, outlooks and endeavors. Change and stability are joined into a virtuous cycle, healthy balance and whole truth. We get our way by giving them a way to feel understood, accepted and respected.

No comments:

Post a Comment