Action Step: Take an EZ Starter Step

(I want to open my mind)

The following EZ steps are pulled from Secret #10 of “Is America Broken?”  There are EZ Ways to Get Started. Pick one or more from the list and see how it might change your view or help to bring you hope. 

EZ 0: If you want to understand why America feels broken  and if you also want to understand why we dare to be hopeful, then consider watching a few of the videos we created for just that reason.

EZ 1:  Good vibrations!  Without positive emotional reinforcement, brain-dead Civics 1.0 and Media 1.0 can just suck-the-life right out of anyone.  We suggest:

  • Donating blood
  • Join a local choir
  • Join an adult community group that interests you (knitting, pickleball, scrapbooking, etc)
  • Volunteer for Meals on Wheels

Trite but true:

The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.

EZ 3: Conversation starters that lead to exploring. 

  1. Are you working on a bucket list?

  2. What did you want to be when you were 10?

  3. Closest thing to a miracle you have known?

  4. Biggest trouble you got in as a kid?

  5. Favorite family or friends’ tradition?

  6. What excites you right now?

EZ 4:  Practice being thankful. 

EZ 5: Balanced news. 

Start by recognizing that much of the media is preaching to a tribe.  The tribe is a “niche” and the niche is easier to advertise to. By giving them your attention, you are probably re-enforcing the niche and thus the  tribalism.   

Balanced news is very hard to find.  If nothing else, be aware of which direction your news source is slanted, then start “taking it with a grain of salt.”  Three sources we find helpful include: 

www.gapminder.org , www.usafacts.org , www.allsides.com , www.gnomi.com 

A real hope is that the news media will see, report and encourage harmony, relationships, Confident Conflict Transformation (CCT) and more.

EZ 6:  When reaching for the TV remote, choose to watch a movie that promotes understanding, rather than movies that promote us-versus-them or winning-and-losing.  

EZ 7:  A whole world, right in your own neighborhood

  • Get a dog. People who have dogs go for walks in the neighborhood. People with dogs stop and talk to each other! You will feel more connected, out of the back porch isolation and thrust onto the figurative front porch.
  • Ask your neighbor to borrow an egg.
  • Make brownies for your neighbor.
  • Have a “block party.” Or organize once a month summer Saturday morning donuts and coffee. Or a fall neighborhood clambake. You get the idea.

EZ 8: You think a conversation may get explosive.

Example 1: it is quite common to be asked, “what is your position regarding such-and-such topic?” And the expectation in our culture is to indeed have a position, even when we may not have any more than a 30-second news clip informing us.  Stating an opinion based on little information will often then TRAP us to then defend that position. Now, if we are honest, this is a recipe for disaster! But it happens frequently.

Diffusing technique: “You know, I haven’t really studied that topic.  I mean I’ve heard some news about it, but it is probably more complicated than the news really has time to dig into.  Are there multiple views of the issue? What can you teach me?”

Example 2:  it is quite common that someone makes a statement that you just can’t let sit out there. That your silence could be assumed to be agreement. So something must be said but you want to avoid getting into an explosive situation.

Diffusing technique: “I’m not sure I see it that way.  So, if we were part of a jury trying to figure out the truth of the matter, I’d wonder about a few things …”

Diffusing technique: “Do you mind if we put that topic in the parking lot and come back to it later?  I can tell it is quite important to you, I’m not sure I agree, but I’m also not prepared to dig into it.”

EZ 9:  Return to your tribe. 

At the end of the day, we can all use a place that feels like home, is safe, we feel fully accepted unconditionally, where we all know our station in life.  

It is okay to have our tribes … just not okay to think them superior or to get trapped within them.

EZ 10:  Learn, explore, travel, read, watch documentaries, seek out an interesting TED Talk. 

EZ 11: Attend a governing body meeting such as a school board meeting, or city counsel, or local court of common pleas.

EZ 12: Attend a multicultural event such as a Jazz Festival or an Inter-Faith group.  

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