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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Talking About Hard Things

Image from Pixabay
I am sure I don't have to enumerate all the the difficult things going on in our country right now, and no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, there are plenty of things that can make your stomach hurt.  I think it is safe to say that all of us are passionately wishing for a more peaceful, prosperous and healthy world for our kids and our communities, though we may disagree about how to get there.

I found a couple of helpful blog posts by Rich Harwood, the founder of the Harwood Institute (which has done work on community engagement with libraries with the Libraries Transforming Communities project).  In the first one, he encourages truly listening, trying hard to understand other perspectives, and reflect the realities of others in our common discourse.  In the second, he recommends starting with paying attention to what our common aspirations for our communities are, allowing room for different issues to rise up (rather than setting out the parameters ahead of time), and doing some concrete things to address them--even if they are small.

I hope we can all keep talking.  And more importantly, listening and caring and doing our best to understand where each other is coming from and opening ourselves to finding common aspirations.  Librarians are a natural place to model civil and caring discourse for kids, teens, and adults!

ALSO:  If you are looking for some techniques for managing challenging conversations, check out the upcoming workshop, scheduled for September 9 in Bloomer!

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