Throughout the past 18 months I have been working on a certification in Conversational Intelligence®. What is Conversational Intelligence®?
It’s basically the neuroscience of conversations. I know, that probably didn’t help much. So let’s try again. It’s a study of what’s happening in our brains during conversation for building trust, identifying if this person or situation is safe, regulating cortisol and oxytocin to have better conversations, and changing the culture through the way we speak to one another. Judith (the developer of the program) always says that “Our words create the worlds we live in.”
No matter what your political position, we can all agree that we have lost the ability to have a healthy conversation on most topics. So what can we do about it?
I propose that we can help our parishioners learn to have better conversations by creating safe practice spaces. The parish should be a safe space to talk about fears, doubts, concerns, and issues in a healthy way so we can better understand the faith and how it relates to our daily lives.
One of my favorite online communities, Blessed Is She, has a program they recommend women to start in their parishes called Blessed Conversations. I’m proposing we expand upon the concept and help our parishioners have healthy conversations on hard topics like immigration, abortion, same-sex marriage, and more.
Create space for parishioners to gather to learn more about the topic, what the Church teaches, and how they’ll speak about it to others. If you’re paying attention to the news or your Facebook feed lately, you’ve noticed that we’re just getting started on the next election cycle. Let’s do what we can as a Church to engage in healthy dialogue that retains the dignity of all people involved and helps us grow together. Stay tuned for our next article for some tips on listening.
This isn’t something I’ve seen done anywhere, so let’s experiment and see if we can change how we speak to one another with the intention of identifying the many things we have in common rather than exacerbating the few things we disagree on. Keep checking back for articles about how listening and conversations can change the world we live in!