I really debating talking about this topic, what with the state of things. But given the state of things, maybe my ideas about finding common ground are exactly what is needed. Maybe we need to talk more about what finding common grounds means to us to come back to a more civilized society.
So, here we go!
Jim Wallis, in his book “On God’s Side” talks about how conservative and liberal people often have similar concerns but different solutions for the problems. He uses the example of poverty – conservatives focus in the importance of personal responsibility and liberals generally focus on social programs. We all know the outcome for that, right? We are all convinced that our solution is the only solution. We can’t see that all our solutions have a place to solve poverty. But personal responsibility and social programs both have a place here.
The same is true in our own interpersonal relationships. Maybe the goal in your parenting relationship is to help your children to process their REALLY BIG EMOTIONS and one of your children is so angry for a reason unknown to you that she gives balloon Olaf such a warm hug that he pops (if you’re thinking this is a really specific example that’s because it is) and one of you sends you child into timeout. The other of you thinks that sending your child into timeout is not going to achieve the goal and is kind of a jerk in communicating that.
If one of us (yes, me) recognized that the goal is to have emotionally well adjusted children (or, you know, at least do our best) then that person would have handled the situation differently. Turns out, fighting in front of your kids also does not lead to them being well adjusted.
The common ground is there, in the relationships we choose to be in we want ourselves and the other person to succeed. We just have to remember.
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