A couple of years ago our youngest son said one of those funny things that parents just don’t forget. I believe he was fighting with his brother. He stopped and said, “You want to talk about it?” You have to understand it was in the same tone a person would say, “You want to fight about it?”
I had visions of grandeur of Riley becoming an ambassador or a peacemaker later in life. Truth is, I am not sure he was really thinking about what he was saying.
Talking things out is always better than a physical confrontation. Yet today sometimes the downturn many conversations take are almost as destructive as physical violence.
I made the mistake of sharing an opinion on social media. Both sides of the issue came out in full force. I regretted opening the can of worms but was also happy to see people discussing the topic in a mostly civil way.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case and the consequences are devastating.
When conversation degrades to personal attacks, it is hard to recover. The conversation can begin with a sincere desire to solve a problem and suddenly turn into something entirely different. Pretty soon, it is no longer about the problem. It becomes an us vs. them situation. We seek to find losers and winners instead of solutions.
Once this happens, it becomes really tough to get back on track. We regret things we’ve said but are also still reeling from the sting of what was said to us.
There are some topics today that I fear we are too partisan to ever solve. Someday we will regret our inability to get over ourselves and work together.