“Conversations can change the way you see the world and can even change the world” – Theodore Zeldin
The recent tragedies at the elementary school in Connecticut, the theater in Aurora and shopping mall in Oregon have led to numerous conversations about gun control.
I’m going to suggest that is not the conversation that will prevent these types of horrific events.
The general tone and tenor of everyday conversations are often a reflection of “cultural conversations” – the conversations heard on television shows, on the radio, video games and in the news that lead to acceptable conversations in our American culture. The glamorization, gameification, glorification and acceptance of hostile behavior as portrayed on television, movies, video games… and Congress are leading us to a more aggressive and hostile society. Whether it’s the new game show called “Take It All” which is a horrible example of promoting lying, deceit and greed so people can walk away with more money and stuff or watching the video that went viral of a 4 year old crying because of the impact of political ads, are enough to make grown people cry. The words and behaviors of our representatives in Washington are filled with positional, self righteous and self serving rhetoric that is leading to aggression, fear and increased stress on a national level.
As a national speaker, I was told that one of the more frequently requested topics is “bullying.” And not just for young people – the request is for dealing with “corporate bullying” – workplace intimidation – by bosses and co-workers.
At a recent social lunch meeting, I finally asked my colleague to change the subject. For 30 continuous minutes he talked about his guns, conceal carry, the need for protection in his car, in his house, at work; was I scared to live several miles from where a rape occurred; did I own a gun to protect myself,….
He was surprised when I told him I found the conversation upsetting and disturbing.
I am not naïve to the realities of life. Nor do I act recklessly.
But I am not committed to adding to the cultural conversations about fear, violence, aggression, or hostile behavior.
I am committed to assisting people in creating conversations that can change the way they see the world and can even change the world, so that we live in a more peaceful, prosperous and civilized society.
So, what are you talking about? And how are you contributing to the cultural conversation? And are you willing to shift conversations to be more representative of the kind of world you want to live in?