Anyone who has been through a Mandt training at any level has heard us talk about always treating people with dignity and respect and creating positive, healthy relationships. Great words, great ideas. We talk about it, we teach it, we expect people to do it. How much time have we spent taking a look at how we live our daily life to make sure we are living up to our standards?
Here’s an example of how our daily life makes these basic Mandt principles difficult to employ. My take on our current political climate in our nation is that no matter which of the many sides of the issues you may be on, we have devolved our political discussions down to the level of “my side is RIGHT and everyone else is stupid or just doesn’t get it.” Even if you may not have said those words, take a look at your social media feeds. Do you post or repost memes or articles that talk about how the other side(s) are wrong? If so, what is the message you are sending to your social media world?
I have some people that I would consider as friends, but I choose to not engage them on any political discussion because I can tell from their posts that we do not see the world the same. So, I am withholding a part of me from them because I am afraid of their reaction. Is this creating a positive, healthy relationship between us? I would say it is not. Does this mean that Mandt would encourage people to avoid all political discussions? Of course, the answer to that is NO. Each of us, however, needs to be aware of the information that we put out into the world and the effect that information may have on others. I enjoy a good discussion. If I know that someone is entering that discussion with a closed mind, however, I am much less likely to engage.
The same idea applies when we are communicating face to face with others. What effect would it have if I started out a conversation with the statement “anyone that voted for candidate X or Y is stupid”? Can I engage others in a political discussion? Yes! Should I start that conversation from a biased position? No.
So, let’s all take a few moments, look at our words and actions, in both the real and virtual worlds, and make sure that we are creating positive, healthy relationships and climates.
Dr.Dale Shannon – Mandt Faculty