How many of us have had times when we’ve hung up the phone and wanted to scream. How is it possible that a parent does not immediately agree with what we have to say? And how could they possibly be getting mad at us?
We are the ones with the degrees. This is what we do for a living. If only they could see things from our perspective, then they would understand exactly what we are trying to tell them and they would agree with us and concede our omniscience.
But if we stop for a moment and reign in our hubris, we realize that there is something inherently wrong with this line of thinking.
First, and foremost, just because it is our perspective doesn’t mean it is the right perspective.
Furthermore, not everyone has the luxury of even having a view.
I’ll say this again. Not everyone has the luxury of having a view.
This is very difficult for many to imagine or comprehend because if you are reading this piece then I am fairly certain that you have the luxury of having a view.
Many do not!
Let me explain further.
I believe that in order to have a view there must be space. Many of the parents that I talk to each day are simply doing all they can to provide for their children. They are immersed in life. Working two jobs. Working night shifts. Single moms. Violence all around. Drugs next door. Trying to make it so their children will have a better life. Not exactly sure how.
These folks do not have the luxury of taking a step back to look at the view. This would require space. They have none. It would also require a clear line of sight. There are too many obstructions. So they have no view and yet we expect them to immediately have an informed one or we expect them to agree with our’s without hesitation.
Finally, there is a large group of folks who believe, and rightly so, that their views are not taken seriously or are oftentimes not even considered; ethnic minorities, children, women and the LBGT population are just a few that come to mind. And therefore once they realize that their views don’t count, they decide to stop having one altogether.
So what is the solution? I think each barrier must be taken down one at a time.
- As Stephen Covey professed we must “first seek to understand, then to be understood.” We must allow for the fact that our view may not always be the right one.
- We must find a way to give others the time and the space and the venue in which they can begin to construct a view. And if they need help, then we right there by their side.
- Finally, we make sure that everyone’s view is heard and valued. No more and no less than any other. But we can’t to continue allow there to be a group of people who chooses to have no view because they believe that no one will listen.
I am a white-middle-class-heterosexual-adult-male who has plenty of time to ponder and oftentimes thinks he knows the right answers.
I have much to gain from those that are not like me.
I don’t get any better or any smarter just listening to my own voice. At least I haven’t so far.