There are a few subjects at work were I know more those around me. There are not many, but in the limited few, it makes for an interesting discussion. I was reminded of this recently when a business colleague reminded me of a starting premise. “If we are going to be a bank, then…” It is a great line, assuming that you and the person you are talking with understands what it takes to be a bank. The latter is critical! If s/he does not know, then the there is a reasonable chance that s/he will challenge your premise.
As I considered the question and how I handled others that did not know, I found myself looking in the mirror. What if I was the one that did not know? How would I want to be treated? Are there elements that any approach must have in order for me to participate?
The idea that I do not know is very plausible. Each is in this category on at least one subject! I know there are unlimited dimensions where I am ignorant. One writer described my position; “Human wisdom is so tinny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can’t begin to compete with God’s ‘weakness.’” (1 Corinthians 1.25)
The elements that a considerate approach would have include the following.
Respect for the question. Just because the question is dumb, it does not follow that the questioner is the same. People deserve our respect. Each is one of God’s kids.
Answers to the question should be informative. Answers should not be used as a hammer to make sure the questioner draws a specific answer.
Statements of fact can be made without a follow on need for the questioner’s agreement. Facts are just that, facts. When stated, they can informative. The listener may, or may not agree. An agreement does not make the fact stronger. Correspondingly, a disagreement does not change the fact.
Today’s dialogues can take on a different tone. Patience, compassion, and respect can be integral in trying to make a difference.