Why Bother to Understand?
We have ample information, from unlimited sources on the internet. With a simple click of a mouse or tapping of a screen, we can access a plethora of articles, personal opinions and “news” stories concerning any topic. Yet, information alone does not give us understanding. We need more than the facts mam!
Taking Part in Discussions
In days gone by, I remember the adults in my life, sitting around the dining room table, long after a meal was finished, discussing in quiet voices their informed political views of the day.
Though I did not understand what they discussed, or what it had to do with me, I did comprehend that what they talked about was important to them.
I clearly remember their body language. They’d lean forward in their chair when they spoke, use their index finger to make a point, and fold their arms over their chest when they finished.
Though I sensed everyone had a different opinion, when one person shared their perspective, everyone else listened, respectively, and then waited their turn to speak. I could tell who agreed or disagreed with what was said simply by watching how they shook their heads.
Always, somewhere in the midst of the parley, someone broke the tension that built up with a joke or a funny story. No one left the table angry, just a little more informed than when they first sat down.
Information was available for this previous generation, just in a slower form: newspapers, magazines, and news broadcasts. There was also more time to think and digest the news. Up-to-the minute reports only occurred when a catastrophe struck, not twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
We face many of the same issues of previous generations, but instead of being on the side lines, listening, and watching the dialogue, we are the ones who are directly affected. We are the ones at the table talking. How we formulate our opinions, share our experiences and listen to others is important.
To gain understanding takes more than just reading the facts. Instead, it requires respect for an idea other than our own, listening when someone else shares their story, and taking ample time to think about what we believe before we open our mouths.
Why bother to understand? Gaining understanding through healthy discourse helps us to be a little more intelligent than if we were left to ourselves.