Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Part One: Turning to One Another

Question:  What spoke to you in this first part of the book?

Quote (p. 3)
I wish we had peace, no violence and lots of moments of silence.
I wish we had no more drugs and have lots of kisses and hugs.
We should have more friends so the world would never end.
We should show more love and pretend that we are doves.
Yes, peace in the world.
— Beta Rae Soriano, age 10


Bonnie Jacobs said...

Question: What spoke to you in this first part of the book?

I like the idea that "listening and talking to one another heals our divisions" (p. 15). Maybe it's because my family was ripped apart last year when one person judged me negatively and then refused to have a discussion with me in person or in email, but only on Facebook where he could have an audience. That explains why I underlined another sentence: "We only isolate ourselves when we're hurt by others, but alone is not our natural state" (p. 23).

Wheatley quotes Paul Freire that we "cannot be truly human apart from communication" (p. 30), but we haven't gotten to the part of the book where we start having a "neighborly conversation" (p. 24). Not yet, anyway. I plan to watch for three things: what surprises me, what makes me (or others) judgmental, and what makes me uncomfortable or uncertain. Wheatley wrote:

* "But when I notice what surprises me, I'm able to see my own views more clearly, including my beliefs and assumptions" (p. 40).

* "It's not differences that divide us. It's our judgments about each other that do" (p. 40).

* "And we have to be willing to move into the very uncomfortable place of uncertainty" (p. 41).

Shirley said...

Question: What spoke to you in this first part of the book?

The author's stress on the importance of conversation made me realize how poor I am on both sides of this seemingly simple method of improving relationships. I am neither a good listener (too often too busy or too uninterested) nor a good speaker (unwilling to share and when I do I experience difficulty in expressing myself).

It also reminds me of recent conversations I've had with my brother who feels too isolated at times wishing he had more people to visit with. He said he even enjoys seeing people he knows from his daily walks with whom he shares greetings.

I liked the idea of watching for things that surprise me, things that make me judgmental, and things that make me uncomfortable or uncertain when I have conversations.

It was sad to read of the family struggle you are going through, Bonnie. Although not the preferred form of communicating, at least the Facebook discussion leaves the door somewhat open. However, it would sure make the resolution of differences very difficult.

AuntyDon said...

"We seek consolation in everything except each other. The entire world seems hypnotized in the wrong direction -- encouraging us to love things rather than people, to embrace everything new without noticing what's lost or wrong, to choose fear over peace. We promise ourselves everything but each other. We've forgotten the source of true contentment and well-being." (p.8) This is so true. Things are what matters in our world today -- things and getting more things. How sad!

Zorro said...

I don't think we can have the kind of conversation that Meg W. is exploring with us unless the participants in the conversation understand and agree to the conditions that she set out:
"Part One explores the power of conversation and the conditions that support it — simplicity, courage, listening, and diversity."

I would say that these types of 'conversations' would be most helpful with a facilitator who can remind the conversationalists of these conditions as they veer off into anger or judgement.

Bonnie's family incident that happened last year on Facebook (I was there for part of it) could not have developed into a 'conversation' because the other person was not there to listen, He was there to preach, to 'witness', and to judge. He has been taught to preach his faith that way.

I would not agree to a conversation with him unless a mediator (who would enforce the conditions) was present. Even with that help, I don't think he would have followed the conditions.

Zorro said...

The last time I tried to have a conversation about something that was burdening me, I was immediately told that I was using the wrong language and was setting up a situation that was not truthful. It was truthful, because I had done quite a bit of research into the case.

The situation is that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)a governmental agency that issues permits for withdrawal of water from our rivers is being sued by the Aransas Project (my group) for breaking a federal law (the Endangered Species Act) by allowing too much water to be taken from our rivers. 23 endangered whooping cranes died in one year at their overwintering grounds on the Texas Coast because of the high salinity in the bays where there food is being lost to the high salinity. We were at a workshop for aquatic science teachers and to me this is an appropriate place to inform and discuss the situation. I was disappointed and hurt to be silenced as I was.

Ideally we should have all taken the time to listen to each other and to follow these rules for a conversation.

Shirley said...

I agree that one cannot have a conversation unless the parties are willing to listen.

This reminds me of the use of the Peace Table in Montessori. Too bad this isn't part of everyone's learning experience. Andrea Coventry summed the concept as follows:
One of the fundamental aspects of Montessori education is Peace Education. This aspect of the curriculum teaches children positive conflict resolution. One very successful tool is use of a Peace Table.
The table is set up in a special area of the classroom, away from the busy work areas. It is usually one small table with two chairs all child-sized. Works are not permitted to be done here, as its sole purpose is for conversation. A Peace Flower, often a rose, is placed on the table with a vase. A child wishing to converse with another may take the Peace Rose to the second child and say, "I invite you to the Peace Table." Both children then assume seats at the table. The child holding the Peace Flower, who did the inviting, gets to speak first. She can tell the second child what he did that hurt her feelings. Then she must give him the flower to let him respond. They pass the flower back and forth, speaking only when holding the flower, until a resolution or compromise is made.

When the concept is first introduced, especially for younger children, an adult may need to help mediate with appropriate language and ideas. Sometimes another child will come over to act as mediator.

The children quickly learn how to use the table appropriately. Some children will get into pretend fights so that they can practice sitting at the table, role-playing.