The bright side of the Political S%#^ show.
We have temporarily lifted the “no screens at the table” rule in our house. The political theater on the other side of the border provides too many learning opportunities to miss. The iPad is front and center as we gather for dinner so we can share a SNL skit, Facebook post or CNN clip that will soon be fodder for SNL! These stunning, hilarious and even sad clips are a starting point for more serious discussion on leadership, ethics, and the political process.
A few favorite lessons below.
1. One should inform an opinion with “facts.”
It is easy to check facts and how you behave when confronted with the fact check that confirms you are wrong says a great deal about your character.
2. You may believe your opinion is the right one and others may not agree.
How you react to this experience will also reflect on your character. Diversity of opinion makes life interesting.
3. How you deliver your opinion can determine how others evaluate it, or if they can even hear it.
Increasing your volume, bullying, belittling others as you interrupt or speak over them will take the focus off anything you have to say.
4. What you write, or share on social media or speak into a hot mic will live on.
You will be judged by how you react, or don’t react to others posts, and comments.
Early in my career, I observed that some of the best leadership lessons would come from watching people behave badly. I would sit back and think “wow, I’m never going to do that. Thanks for saving me from making that mistake on my own!” (Stories for another post.) Now I sit back and think…thank you Donald, for making it so easy for me to bring that lesson home!
So boys….when the facts contradict your opinion, admit you are wrong. If you can’t choke out the words “I was wrong,” indicate that based on the new information you may need to rethink your opinion. This does not make you look weak — this demonstrates you are rational and open minded — two positive attributes.
When you believe your opinion is right — and the majority disagrees, reflect on your options and determine if there is a greater gain from compromise. The world isn’t black and white — there is a fair bit of grey. You may have wanted Bernie; he isn’t in the race, no need for indecision. Not voting, or throwing it away as a protest vote to see what happens is not the right option.
How you deliver your opinion influences if it is heard. Yelling, swearing, or wild facial gestures rarely help people understand your point of view.
For maximum impact, read a situation and an audience and keep calm. Let the other person go nuts, while you breathe deeply and watch how others react.
I can’t say that we reached agreement on the fourth point — but it made for good debate. Most of it about how you react when they are saying, posting or doing something you know is wrong — when to be the “stand up guy.” (Always — make mom proud.)
While families with young children may want to keep them away from the news, so they don’t need to provide all the different definitions of pussy. Parent’s of teenagers — this is your moment. Use this “show” to talk, help your kids develop their opinions, learn to express their views and polish their debating skills!