Kneeling - Is that what we're really talking about?

Last year, Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem received modest attention outside the sports world.

But this year, as our fellow citizens were trying to grapple with Maria’s unbelievable wrath, a hateful comment laid a divisive trap. We took the bait, ran to our tribal corners, and start to shout.

The debate was so loud that it made it difficult to clearly understand what we were actually talking about. Was it honoring the military, uniting the country, protesting the administration, or something else?

It was clear that it wasn’t about Kaepernick’s initial concern because that was seldom heard on ESPN or cable news. And it wasn’t about respecting our anthem and flag. If it was, then we should discuss why most don’t put down their wings and beer to stand for Old Glory at home or B-Dubs.

Too often our conversations miss the target because we are not having the same conversation. After all, it’s hard to get on the same page if we only read books that validate our world view.

It happens at work as well. Our conference room debates from hiring that new person to inspecting our execution are rarely about the listed meeting agenda.

Just like last week’s culture kerfuffle wasn’t about our flag.

Debates are about respect, equality, responsibility, and other values that we hold dear. The best of among us can shift from listening to reply to listening to understand to transform the debate into a conversation that builds trust and civility.

They also know that we can do two things at the same time like chewing gum and walking, loving our country and speaking up to make it better, and disagreeing without being disagreeable.

It just takes is a little curiosity, empathy, and listening to change the game from winning the argument to building our future.

Have Fun Storming the Castle!

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