Compelling Counterpoints or Gridlocks

Until we teach teens whole brain thinking, and support college students to engage options on other sides of their opinions – expect gridlocked leaders who sulk when they lose.

Compelling Counterpoints or Gridlock

The next time controversy arises, consider how even one opposing view can illuminate facts on both sides of the issue. Take war and peace!

Yesterday a retired teacher told me how he loved teaching history – especially civil war and Gettysburg Battles. In fact Jake recently reenacted several triumphs of war.

My immediate thought was:

Why do we teach war daily, but omit possibilities from robust peace plans?

To ask that question though, would have likely created gridlock or a fight with a brilliant leader I admire in many ways.

So I asked instead:

What could your reenactment offer those interested in leading robust peace plans?

My question ignited Jake in ways that surprised me! He walked away promising me he’d be exploring that question further before the next real life history reenactment.

What question might you ask today that starts a new conversation to explore possibilities on the other side of popular thought?

Outlines enable points and counterpoints to weave wonder together in ways that build curiosity for both sides of controversial topics. It’s a skill worth developing through practice.

How would you nudge a college student to support and learn from an opposing view they may have missed in heated exchanges?



  1. Marianna says:

    You so clearly demonstrated the benefit of the pause. Stopping long enough to ponder whether the conversation might be furthered by a rephrasing of the question.

    I am certainly enjoying the benefits of developing this skill.

  2. eweber says:

    Oh – how lovely is the Shelah or pause. When I take it – I win far more — when i neglect it – I make mistakes:-)

    Love your openness to learn and inspire the rest of us to stay open to that prospect too!

    Stay blessed! Ellen

  3. Marianna says:

    …and I just learned a new word – “Selah” – and, I like it! Thanks, Ellen.

  4. eweber says:

    May this week offer both of us a Selah from the busyness and a new window into the meaningfulness of all that we both do. Feel like you already opened that window refreshingly for me:-)


  5. GaryFPatton says:

    Is the issue really war vs. peace, Ellen, given our human nature rather than creative ways to resist vilolence passivistically?

  6. eweber says:

    Gary — I have to agree with you. My goal would be to adopt spaces in every history text to engage learners and leaders on innovative ways to create and sustain robust peace plans and align with others skilled in the art of peace. We study, value, play and sing the values of war. It’s time to tap into the power of robust peace with even more intention.

    Because of the way the brain’s plasticity rewires with every action we take — we rewired an entire nation for war. Yikes!

    Let’s look through the eyes of leaders like Gary Patton, and of humanity and remap our brains in so doing:-) Stay blessed! Ellen

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