If you've been following along the past two weeks, we've been discussing what the world owes us and what we owe the world. We know that by embracing a givers mindset we will live a full and joyful life. If you'd like to catch up (which is only four minutes of reading), you can find those posts here.
The first thing we owe the world is to make decisions based on our values. Our choices carry too much weight, the consequences too great, to not utilize our values in making decisions. We owe it to our fellow humans to be able to justify the choices we make.
The second thing we owe each other is...
2. We owe it to the world to ask more questions.
I spoke at a high school in eastern Oregon in the Fall of 2021. I was hired to conduct a full school assembly, an FFA chapter officer training, and an FFA chapter wide training (about 40 students). It was the first time I had been invited to do a full school assembly and I was nervous. On the first day I completed the officer training and the school wide assembly, went to dinner with the community, then went back to the hotel to prepare for the next day.
In the middle of the chapter wide training on the second day, I heard a knock on the library door, where we were conducting the training. I opened it to find a seemingly flustered young man looking at me. He almost shook with what could have been anxiety or anger.
He said, "Can I talk to you out here?" I stepped outside.
"How can I help you?"
"I'm pretty upset with you. I love my school and we invite you here just for you to post this? I know we aren't the best high school, but it's not cool of you to trash us like this."
His did his best to convey his position, emotions taking over and eventually he showed me the post he was referring to. The previous day I had posted a picture of a student release note I had found in the library, releasing students for the training I was doing today. The note had said, "Congratulations on being selected for Jason Wetzler FFA Day!..." I was so shocked that a school had designated a day for me that I posted the following message to my Instagram story:
My intention with the post was to convey my honor and excitement that a school had created a DAY for my leadership training, a true milestone for me as a speaker. However, how the young man had interpreted the message was the complete opposite.
That day the young man demonstrated the exact behavior that I believe we all ought to demonstrate: he simply asked a question.
After showing me the post, he took a breathe and just said, "What did you mean by this?" I explained my position and slowly I saw the tension come out of his shoulders, his breathing relax, and his disposition change. By the end of our conversation we were able to shake hands. An hour later he followed me on Instagram and I thanked him for having the courage to approach and ask me the question.
I believe that we owe it to the world to ask more questions. The young man could have left that day upset and with a bitter disposition towards leadership and guest speakers. Instead, he asked a question and it completely changed the reality of the situation.
How much better would our relationships, our outlook, our world be if we asked more questions?
Create a list of three questions that you will ask the next time someone does something you disagree with. Don't respond or react before asking those questions.
What relationship in your life is suffering because you haven't asked a question?
"Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing." - Rollo May