A little while ago I eavesdropped on a Facebook conversation between a couple who were having a conversation about race and the current state of affairs in America.
Female: The nation is out of control
Male: I agree, but what do we do?
Female: We start by listening to understand instead of listening to respond.
What a great answer. I decided to use it to write a blog post. I would only add the word learn. (Hope you don't mind Alaina.)
I am very grateful to have the privilege of having a computer and access to a world I would have never known if I hadn't taken a leap of faith and plunged right in several years ago. As the result I have friends all over the world of every color, race, religion and belief. The only time we don't see eye to eye is when one of them tries to shove what they believe down my throat. I am perfectly willing to listen, understand and learn from their experiences, but my life is mine and I will live it as I see fit.
In addition to FB I also enjoy the Kindle books that Amazon offers. Many of them are free. Two books in particular that taught me things I would never have imagined were:I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and Desert Flower by Waris Dirie.
I had no idea what it was like being a female of color. I also had no idea what Ms. Angelou's life was like as a child and young woman. The things she endured as a young black woman should never have happened to anyone. How she grew up to be the revered woman she was has to be the work of the Creator.
The second book woke me up to learn about a young woman from Somalia who became a super model and United States Human Rights Ambassador. It is a true story detailing the barbaric circumcision of young African women. I had no idea this existed. Her job as an ambassador is to spread the word and end the custom which is still going on today. It's hard to believe she says she still loves her country.
I believe Alaina is right: Listen to understand/learn, not to respond.