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How we treat each other is the difference between a great place to live and a bad place to live. We shape our world through relationships. Most people agree we want communities where all people have dignity and respect. Yet respectful interactions are often not what we see modeled in the media and in politics. And far too many people feel disrespected in their lives. What is our role in these dynamics?
Background Information:When talking with friends and family, it may be helpful to consider: How can we listen to each other and hold the tension of our differences? Reviewing our Friends and Family Conversation Guide can be helpful for these discussions. You can also check out our Righteousness or Relationships podcast for related discussions. And finally, you can review how our heart vs. our heads affect our human behavior. While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.
Let's Get Started!
This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.
Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?
Round 1: Core Values
- What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
- What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
- What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?
- Have you ever seen or been in a conversation where people were not listening to each other? How did that turn out?
- Have you ever taken a position or voiced an idea that was very different from a group you are part of? How did that feel? Or have you ever decided against speaking out because it just wasn’t worth the repercussions?
- Describe a friend or relative with whom you are able to talk about hard things in a respectful way and “hold the tension of your differences.” What is the difference you have with this person – and why do you find it worthwhile to talk in this respectful way together?
- When have you used respect and listening to resolve a problem? Did it work?
Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps
- In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
- What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
- Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
- Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
- Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?