The Skype conversation had been scheduled for a few days. As the time grew near, I realized that there were far more unknowns about the person I was going to talk to than known. Although there were people in our networks that knew each other, we had never met. In fact, other than a few obvious facts, I was approaching this blind.
As the conversation got started, it was as if we knew that steps we wanted to follow. With plenty of space and time for answers, who are you? Where are you coming from? What are you interested? How do you imagine things working?
Even as we wrapped up, I realized that I was going to look at this conversation with an eye of remembering and learning. I could not find anything that either of us did wrong. Active listening was the foundation. Curiosity and genuine interest shaped the questions. An awareness of how different our backgrounds and approach influenced how we proceeded.
I found my energized by the model we had used. While it was strangely familiar, it seemed new. At its core was a simple set of ideas. Celebrate the ideals that you share with others. “Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way.” (Jude 1.22)
It is never enough to simply agree with another. Remind them why you agree. Find a way to celebrate the agreement! Use each point of agreement as a building block to exploring More.
When points of difference emerge, gently explore the details. In our conversations, the differences became points of learning. What remained was left as areas for future conversation.
When one disagrees, there are ways that one can stand up for one’s view without making it personal. I came away with a view that I was going to grow as a result of our conversation. I hope there will be more in the future.
It was a good conversation, maybe even great. Life reminds me that every moment comes with this potential. We can make it real.