and To Listen-A Lost Art?
acknowledging are founding principles in coaching.
I hear what you say and it is understandable that you feel like that.
All of us want to be heard, and to feel that our thoughts have some merit.
I have lived in Washington DC for over 22 years.
I have mentored for over 22 years.
While, as a coach, I can listen and validate
while, having lived in Washington, I can have a spirited debate and/or discussion about
without getting irate, irrational,
this is not often the case when
others initiate conversation with me
the assumption that I am completely aligned with their point of view.
I have been hung up on,
have been stormed away from,
I have been
told--we can't be friends if you feel like that!
I have been called dumb and just plain wrong,
I have been waved silent with--Let's just stop talking-
all because I asked a probing question or offered an alternate view,
The reason I
bring this up is not to complain.
I bring this up is because we are raising our kids
without listening or communication skills.
do not care so much about my peers.
I do care
that many of our young people have no idea how to listen to someone else's point of view.
Furthermore, they have little ability to intelligently argue their own.
If curriculum were in my hands,
would make Debate mandatory.
Debate would do
away with the --position by sound bite--approach,
the notion that opinion is truth,
and the assumption that emotion equals reasoning.
Debate would require research,
prepared to counter in a clear, reasoned, objective way,
Our youth may have passion but
they possess a much smaller arsenal of facts.
could benefit from more documented information and less interpretation of it,
greater insight and perspective, and less immediate judgement and conclusion.
But most importantly,
they truly need to recognize the difference between Opinion
It is dangerous when the
and our greater society starts to
interpret opinion as fact.
Let's teach our kids how to Ask
and how to Listen.
Who? What? Why?
When? Where? How?
If our youth can
calmly ask these questions
and then listen
respectfully to the answers
our youth can be asked these questions
we will be growing better thinkers
who will become better writers,
who will become better leaders.
just maybe the art of exchanging ideas will have a better day.
Special-Thursday September 30 2010
The Death of Rutgers University FreshmanTyler Clementi
Was the Humor? Where was the Heart?
Humor? Why would two educated Rutgers freshmen
think it was ok to videotape a roommate in a sexual encounter, and then show it to others? Did they think
it would be entertaining? Scintillatingly funny? And that others would enjoy it!
Heart? Why would seemingly
well balanced freshmen think it all right to invade someone else’s intimate privacy and then have complete
lack of empathy for what that person might feel after such embarrassing public exposure?
terribly wrong here. And the reality is, a Human Being is dead. Note, I say, Human Being-not student,
not promising musician, not an 18 year old with his whole life ahead if him.
A Human Being.
unless we go back to basics, we will see more Human Beings fall victim to desensitization, depersonalization.
And Humanity as a whole will fall prey.
I have met many parents and seen over and over again
such relief when their children are doing well academically. They are proud and their relief often turns into a
more laissez faire attitude towards their children's social behavior. They stop paying close attention to character
development and start giving lots of behavioral passes –after all, things can’t be too bad if the grades
are good. These parents seem to think there is a direct link between those A’s, Honor Roll and being well
adjusted and emotionally mature. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We need first and foremost to raise a Humane Being. And a Being needs a great deal of nurturing and guiding before it becomes Humane.
is what my book (H20 to Go! Growing Emotional Resilience and Navigating Through Childhood with Heart, Humor
& Optimism) is all about. (See box below)
In it, I make crystally clear that Heart comes
first because it encompasses a great deal more than Love.
Heart brings forth Empathy.
Empathy will bring forth Respect.
Respect brings forth Ethics.
And Ethics will bring forth Principles.
Under this theory, those two students would never have done what they did.
The grades, the schools and the colleges are all secondary.
A child will make his or her own way quite well if emotionally resilient and optimistic. But our children will
only become humane if they are empathetic, ethical and principled.
I am sick at heart for Tyler Clementi and his family.
I am also sick at heart for his roommate
and his ‘so-called’ friends and their families. They will have to live with this action forever--too
high a consequence for not putting Heart and all it encompasses before all else.