So last night I went to hear the indefatigable Stephanie Gray talk about how we can all, every single last one of us, do something about abortion. I liked this talk for a couple of reasons. Stephanie is a great presenter. Very captivating, compelling and easy to listen to. She also has great fashion sense. I think her dress may have been Ann Taylor. Now we are getting into back handed compliments for myself, since I wear a lot of Ann Taylor.
Back to the talk.
Her main point was that in virtually any disagreement in which we aim to convince someone we are right, we almost always go about it in the wrong way.
Or at least, I know I do.
Let’s take a young Andrea as an example. I’ve been opinionated for a while. I can recall “debating” on the grade school playground under the basketball hoop. The year was 1982. The point made by one Alison M. was the actual reality around how babies are made. The point argued by one Andrea Mrozek (six year old version) was that couldn’t possibly be true and here’s how it really works, Alison: You ask and God gives you a baby. We did a couple of rounds on this. You’re wrong, I’m right, Is so, Is NOT! etc. I like to think I made a pretty compelling case, citing biblical authority, like “What about MARY???” No one came to see the other side that day. I have since adjusted my position, but only slightly. Let it not be said that I am totally unreasonable.
Stephanie’s point was that in disagreements we have to
1) really, truly listen
2) ask A LOT of questions, always question
3) use stories, good ones, to cause people to thoughtfully consider what they actually believe.
We don’t do this enough. When I manage to do this, it is interesting how heated exchanges are all but eradicated. People actually think about things. The telling of stories highlights new angles in a non-threatening way.
She also properly identified that using logic with someone who is invested on a purely emotional level won’t work. And sometimes the people who are MOST emotional about the issue are LEAST aware of it.
In a way, Stephanie was teaching basic listening skills.
And this is important because for far too many pro-lifers, shouting “it’s a life” has sufficed to make the point.
Good to be reminded that it is through loving, personal relationship, really, REALLY listening and engaging, that people’s hearts are changed.
This is true on every issue, not just abortion.
In conclusion, I suspect that if I were to meet Alison M. today, she’d come around, through the use of my new strategies.
All in all, a good night. Many thanks to the fine pro-life groups who set this up. Good to see a crowd of people, young and old, in attendance. One person at a time, one interaction at a time, we’ll change the way this country thinks about abortion.by