Sunday, October 16, 2011

I'd like to think about that.


"I'd like to think about that." How often he has used this simple utterance as a way of granting dignity and validity to the opposing position, without relinquishing or invalidating his own perspective. And note how it isn't a flat submission or commitment: "I will think about that." It's, "I'd like to." As in, I welcome it. As in, I believe it will benefit me to entertain a different viewpoint. To lend my imagination to walking around in your shoes. To enlarge my mental field, my field of consideration and empathy.

-Leah Hager Cohen referencing her father's way of keeping alive difficult dialogue


The rest of Leah Hager Cohen's post here.

28 comments:

  1. Transformative. Thank you, too, for introducing me to her blog.

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  2. This is very diplomatic and I love that it leaves the other person comfortable with sharing what they have to share. Listening is so important.

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  3. Listening is half of the dialogue (if not more). After all God gave us two ears and just one mouth, right?

    I am currently reading "writing down the bones" (after having finished "Bird by Bird"), and Natalie Goldberg says: "Listening is receptivity. [...] You take in the way things are without judgment."
    Jack Kerouac said: "Be submissive to everything. Open. Listening"

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing this. I love it. It is indeed a passage about listening, but in my opinion it's about more than that; it's about giving oneself the liberty to take time before answering, resisting the pressure. It's a technique I've been trying very hard to master lately, as I have to learn to resist the urge to automatically say 'yes' whenever someone wants something from me. However, I've been using 'Can I think about it?' which gives the other person all the power yet again - you'd be surprised how many of them say 'NO! I want an answer NOW!' :-)

    I love 'I'd like to think about it.' it's so subtle, humane and celebrates equality between the people present. Beautiful.

    x E.

    p.S. I've read Writing down the Bones as well, and if you haven't, I highly recommend it. I turn to it again and again. I also loved her book on writing autobiography: Old friend from far away.

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  5. It sounds Obama-y. In a good way.

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  6. Ooh... I like this a lot. What a wonderful way to support someone else's point of view. I know I sure would appreciate that kind of generosity every now and again.

    Thanks!

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  7. I'd like to think about that by the lake in the photo.

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  8. Denise, I like to think about the things I find written here and to the places you send me. In particular I appreciate the suggestion to use this sentence:

    "Under what conditions might it be possible to envision [whatever was at stake]?"

    when trying to help a sticky situation get unstuck. I can think of a zillion ways and times to apply this!

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  9. I am going to practice saying and meaning "I'll have to think about that" more after reading this. Thank you for sharing.

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  10. This is a wonderful phrase that I look forward to implementing into my own daily dialogues. To pass this along was a gift to me and I am most excited to show my young son, through example, how opening up a conversation and your mind can be a powerful, transformative thing.

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  11. Very graceful and civilized... I want more. I'll have to remember this for myself. xo

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  12. Hello ladies. Isn't it intriguing that we are all ladies here? I wonder why men don't visit more often. Oh well. I think we are doing just fine as is. Keeping alive difficult dialogue can be such a challenge, especially in the heat of the moment. I was happy to see some wise approaches to dealing with this challenge and it seems you agree. Aren't we all so open minded and lovely? Yes, I thought you'd agree.

    melissa, It's Lake Michigan.

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  13. I fear that I'm not as open-minded and lovely as I like to think; part of the reason I need to practice using that phrase. Cooling the heat of the moment..

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  14. Kate, I'm practicing my open minded loveliness. I think I can, I think I can...

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  15. I think of that location almost every day.
    It soothes the soul.
    Great photo.

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  16. Wow, so much to think about here, the nuances of language. I too love the things you introduce us to and the colours of your photo transport me as much as the words. Thank you.

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  17. hope that someday i´m a bit closer to be like this - but i doubt it. thank you for sharing this.

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  18. should be said more often.... indeed

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  19. Thank you so much for sharing that post. It's definitely a phrase that I realize I have been using more and more as a parent. I love the eloquent way of describing it as a means to keep a conversation open. Because sometimes we *don't* know the answers, or have a ready response in the moment.

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  20. Roberta, I agree. That corner is magical. I've stood there and looked out onto the water for answers on so many occasions. It does soothe the soul.

    kim, In the moment is tough. I'm all about sleeping on things. Too bad it's not an option that's always available.

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  21. This is nice. There's a sense of deliberateness in it, isn't there? As in: I will think about that, but it'll be on my terms...

    as always, a treat to traipse through your blog on this sleepless Thursday night (or Friday morning, really). Happy weekend, D.

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  22. Hi Megan,

    I do like the deliberateness, but am still finding the words actually rolling off my tongue a bit difficult. I'll have to create a Denise version that feels more comfortable.

    I hope you've been catching a few naps lately. Sweet dreams.

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  23. a practice and phrase i will pocket and use. thank you for the link as well.

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  24. nice post dear blogger!

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