The Norman Transcript

November 10, 2012

When worlds collide

By Joe Ted Miller
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Wouldn’t it be better if worlds coincided instead of collided? In the conversations I have in retirement with our Norman fellow citizens I find that a lot more good happens when we can talk about what interests us together. I know it is easy to ask “How are you doing?” rather than “How are you thinking?” but it’s not nearly as interesting. What I notice is that visiting with one another is a lot more fun when it’s not a matter of one person elaborating on what he or she thinks but rather when both persons show their interest in what each other thinks.

But that’s not enough, is it! What I have learned from others is that I have to be willing to enter into a conversation with my own willingness to change my mind on issues if the other person’s opinion teaches me that their opinion makes more sense than my own. Doesn’t that mean that we have more opportunity to grow from our conversation from where we were to where we could be?

What a difference that would make in our political and religious discussions! Wow! What I noticed from years back when I was trying to do my part to get people of different opinions together was that it just took a catalyst to occasion that happening. Couldn’t we each be such a catalyst for learning from and with one another? What a difference that would make in marriage and life with our children too! I wonder if a lot of learning doesn’t happen because moms and dads, brothers and sisters, students and professors, republicans and democrats, Muslims and Christians, persons of one denomination or another, believers in some kind of God and non-believers in any God would have such learning conversations together. We have so much to offer one another and the world beyond us if only we showed more interest in what everyone else thinks and believes in or wants to learn.

There are so many issues that seem to divide us today so that many of us even bully one another into believing our way. Sometimes we sort of come home after work or meetings and retire into our own little personal space. I know as a retiree how that doesn’t make for good health of mind or body. I have found all the more that all other people can be like vitamins for me that not only are good preventative medicine but also strengthening nourishment. Let’s knock on the closed doors, cell phones, computers or hearts and minds of one another all the more and do each our part in our community’s ongoing conversation together.

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