A colleague recently told me about relationships he had that were being strained by the negative public discourse in our country.

People that he had been friendly with were talking about politics and communication was breaking down. Sides were being taken and the value of the relationships they had previously enjoyed were questioned and sometimes lost.

He was frustrated by this turn of events and wanted to find a way to bring people together again.

He told me about the Civil Conversations Project which is a resource for “planting new conversations in families and communities.”

I checked it out and immediately loved the founding principle of “creating new spaces for listening, conversation and engagement.”

Here is a quotation from the invitation to participate:

Change comes about at the margins.

People in the center are not going to be the big change makers.

You’ve got to put yourself at the margins and be willing to risk in order to make change.

But more importantly, you have got to approach differences with this notion that there is good in the other.

                                                                                               — FRANCES KISSLING

My colleague is a force at the margin. He wants to invite people in his community together to start over … by encouraging dialogue and bridging the divide that has been created.

He realizes that some may not want to join him, however, he is willing to put himself out there to try.

I suggested that many will be grateful and relieved that he has taken a first step. We all get busy and sometimes it’s easier to just move on in our own sphere.

As the website encourages: We need to “learn to speak differently together in order to live together differently.”

I admire my colleague’s courage to undertake this adventure. I will check in on him in a bit to see how it’s going.


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