Last week I wrote about Echo Chambers, (http://www.edgefieldadvertiser.com/2017/10/echo-chambers/) and how difficult it is sometimes for individuals to break outside of the sounding boards they feel most comfortable. I shared “It is almost as if millions of American are being trained to hear what the other side is saying, before the other side even opens their mouths to speak. That those driving our political echo chambers actually want to see this “cold civil war” which is brewing, to boil over.” In other words, we aren’t being trained to listen – we are being trained to think we know what other individuals think or believe without listening or attempting to listen.
Watch any commentator on any main stream media outlet, regardless of political side and you will witness interruption, rudeness, name calling, and an unwillingness to listen. These are individuals the American public have allowed to become “leaders” in the media. They are shaping how we act, think and treat our fellow citizens.
During my 30’s, one of my mentors, who was in his 60’s at the time, told me many times, “Scott, God gave us two ears and one mouth. That means he wants us to listen twice as much as we speak.” Good advice, although in all honestly, it is sometimes very difficult to execute – especially when we are trying to break environments similar to those shared one paragraph above. That mentor gave me another great piece of advice, which I wrote about here, (http://hscottcooper.com/those-who-throw-dirt-lose-ground/).
There are two themes I have shared in my introductory three paragraphs: the importance of listening, and the importance of mentoring across generational lines, both of which are critical if we are to prevent this cold civil war we are witnessing in our republic from boiling over.
Last week I shared a program where as adults we can help identify the next generation of leaders at a young age, to enroll in a summer “camp” program titled Student Leadership University. (http://www.slulead.com/slu). While this can be pursued as an individual, this is best executed through the faith based community. If you are a leader within a church, I encourage you to check it out.
Another program, which can be pursued as an individual, or a church, in helping to prepare the next generation for the worldview conflicts which are becoming more and more evident is Summit Ministries in Colorado. https://www.summit.org/. I visited Summit earlier this month, simply to walk the grounds, pray for the next generation of students, and learn about the progress there since our oldest son Robert attended. Next week, I will write specifically about Summit Ministries.
In closing, I want to provide two challenges for all of us, who consider ourselves leaders: Who are you mentoring across generational lines? Who is a generation behind you, you are investing in? Who is a generation ahead of you, that you have sought their wisdom, and asked for their mentorship?
It must be noted, requests for such relationships often are rejected. Don’t let that discourage you – but press on to those who see the value and understand the importance, not just for themselves, but for the survival of our republic.
Here’s hoping a few of you will make that investment!
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