One of my supporters wrote me the following note recently:
“I continue to support Steve Wagner through JFA because you continue to teach and reach out to the next generation lovingly, carefully, and thoughtfully. Meeting them where they live in heart and mind. With the truth of the sanctity of life, good, bad, happy, or sad. Dialoguing with them, engaging them in the debate. Accepting their feelings about how they think.” (Handwritten note, June 2011)
I think that last phrase, “accepting their feelings about how they think…” captures our goal with one-to-one conversations in an interesting way. We’re not accepting bad ideas (we want them to be discarded), but we can accept a person’s feelings about their ideas, and we can understand how difficult it is for any of us to be confronted with new/unexpected information. Cognitive dissonance is not just dissonant cognitively. It’s going to have an impact on our emotions.