Hi, and thanks for joining the party!

I thought I’d begin the new year by giving you a flavor of just how eclectic a group you are. You hail from all around the United States, Germany, Portugal, England, Ireland, and Brooklyn (yes, I consider my beloved hometown a country of its own). Among you are entrepreneurs, lawyers, teachers, writers, podcasters, a child psychologist, outside-the-home and stay-at-home working moms, a singer/songwriter, an extreme survival instructor, a purveyor of fine wines, a retired reinsurance agent turned Zumba devotee, and a biker with his own heavy metal band. And that’s just a partial list. Wow.

A warm welcome to you all.

With such diversity, we can expect differences of opinion in many arenas, and although my blog is a not a political one—it’s about people and the arts and language and travel and humor, among other things–it’s hard to ignore the fact that the tension lately in the world looks more and more like  a spaghetti western on steroids.

(Here’s a bit of trivia for you: Clint Eastwood made his movie debut in 1955 in Revenge of the Creature, uttering the unforgettable line, “It is my considered opinion that rat No. 4 is sitting inside that cat.” Take a peek at this clip courtesy of YouTuber Chris Brown.)

So, how to proceed, when you’re discussing hot topics? Here are a few guidelines:

Step #1. Don’t Insult. I know it’s obvious, but still…

Step #2. Accurately Represent Your Opponent’s Point of View. The mark of an educated mind is the ability to entertain a thought without accepting it. (Aristotle)

Step #3. Recognize that the Conclusion is Only as Good as the premises. A little logic goes a long way.

Step #4Find points of agreement. There must be some common ground, right?

Step #5. Acknowledge that things are not always black and white. There just really may be something you can learn from “the other side.”

If you want to dig deeper, check out this post in Psychology News by  Robin Mark Phillips.

What about you? Do you have any tips to share about navigating the narrative? Maybe you observe the old adage about not discussing politics or religion. That’s an option. Some folks, brave souls, say those are the only two things worth discussing. Let me hear from you. In the meantime, have a super weekend. Stay safe and sane.