Difficult conversations are something that we’ve had to have a lot of over the past four years. But just when it feels like you can’t even listen to someone who believes differently than you anymore, in walks someone like Kern Beare to help you realize maybe we aren’t so divided after all.
On this episode of The Sidewalk Talk podcast, Traci talks with Kern, author and creator of the Difficult Conversations Project, all about how to have those difficult conversations in light of everything we’ve been through in the past four years, and really, the past few months as well. Difficult Conversations Project was birthed out of the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election when Kern, along with one of his sons, decided to travel the country on a “listening tour,” setting up conversations with a variety of people with a diverse set of belief systems to try to understand how our country could have come to this place of division and hatred.
In this conversation, Traci and Kern discuss what he learned on that first tour that sparked the creation of Difficult Conversations, how to listen without the need to be right, the push and pull between love of neighbor and the fight for justice, and how we reconcile our capitalist system with a belief that people should always be put first. Whether you’ve had a difficult conversation lately or you’re looking to have these types of conversations better in the future, this podcast episode is for you!
[00:58] Meet Kern
[07:41] How the 2016 presidential election birthed the Difficult Conversations Project
[15:02] Listening without needing to be right
[20:39] The dichotomy between love and justice
[27:54] Kern’s thoughts on the 2020 presidential election
[31:48] Capitalism versus a people-first approach
[36:52] Kern’s word for you
Standout Quotes from the Episode
“The intention of life is to be loving, totally loving. And to be totally loving we have to deal with the parts of ourselves that get in the way of being totally loving.”
“The fundamental problem is a lack of relationship and a lack of connection. I saw the ability to engage in difficult conversations as a process for healing that disconnection.”
“Difficult conversations trigger our flight, flee, freeze survival drive.”
“A window’s been opened up, that if we don’t take advantage of, we’re going to really regret it. And we need to do more to reach out to one another, to connect with each other. We can’t think that, oh now we can relax.”
“We are fully capable of meeting the moment. And I think we need to have faith in ourselves to meet this moment.”
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